• 02 April, 2016
    Sister’s Bone Marrow Cures Thalassemia in 26 Years Old at Narayana Health City, Bangalore

    Saket was diagnosed with Thalassemia major just a few months after his birth. He underwent blood transfusion for more than 24 years till relief came in the form of Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) with his sister being the matched donor. Bone marrow transplant in older children and adults having Thalassemia is a very complex procedure due to which this youth from Jaipur was refused treatment at a few hospitals. However, Dr. Sunil Bhat, Head - Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Center at Narayana Health City in Bangalore took up his case after conducting few preliminary tests and successfully cured him from Thalassemia with the matching bone marrow from his sister.

    Thalassemia is a disease in which red blood cell production is less and also destruction is more. If left untreated more than 90% of these patients die by age of two years. These patients need life-long blood transfusion every three to four weeks. Over a period of time, it may result in overload of iron in the blood due to repeated transfusion affecting the liver and heart causing death.

    Speaking to media persons about this unique case, Dr. Sunil Bhat said, "Bone marrow transplant is the only potential cure for this dreaded disease and fortunately Saket's sister, who was HLA matching with him, came as a savior. Blood transfusion comes with its problems of iron overload, infection and reactions. In view of his advanced age and high risk nature, we took special precautions during the transplant process. Now he is more than seven months post transplant and is cured of his disease."

    This gives hope to older Thalassemia patients in their adolescence and youth to get cured with Bone Marrow Transplant. The transplants are usually done between related donors (siblings), matched unrelated donors (non-family members) or Haplo-identical donors (parents).

    Sharing his experience in fighting the disease, a much relieved Saket said, "I am grateful to Dr. Sunil Bhat and the entire team of BMT unit at Narayana Health City in Bangalore for giving me a new lease of life and helping me survive this disease. Earlier I had to go through blood transfusion every 3 to 4 weeks, but with advancement in technology and medicine, I am completely cured after undergoing BMT procedure. I cannot thank my sister enough who actually gave me a new birth by donating her bone marrow to cure my Thalassemia.

    Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Center at Narayana Health City in Bangalore has India's largest Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, which recently completed more than 500 BMT procedures. Dr. Jaison (name changed), the 500th BMT patient is a 47-year-old male diagnosed with multiple myeloma and initially treated with chemotherapy followed by an autologous stem cell transplant in December 2015. He is now well and back to work.

    Speaking about this achievement, Dr. Sharat Damodar, Clinical Director, Senior Consultant Hematologist & Head of Bone Marrow Transplant at Narayana Health City said, "The number of BMT procedures we do has increased over the years recognizing us the most preferred and advanced centre for Bone marrow transplant in India. We have an excellent team to treat both adult as well as pediatric cases and we have treated children as young as 3 months of age."

    BMT has been the standard treatment of choice in a large number of malignant disorders such as Leukemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma and Neuroblastomas apart from conditions such as Thalassemia, Aplastic Anemia and Immunodeficiency disorders.

    Commenting on the milestone of completing 500 BMT procedures, Dr. Devi Shetty, Chairman - Narayana Health said, "We are emerging as a leading BMT unit in the country and on this occasion of having completed more than 500 procedures at our unit in Health City, we will treat one BMT patient every month at 5 lakh rupees, which is less than 50 percent of the cost."

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