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35 year old in Gurgaon receives stem cells from non identical donor - lives on to tell the story
Thirty five-year-old Harith Hatim was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. All lines of chemotherapy were tried, however everything failed and his condition relapsed three times since 2009. His only chance of survival depended on stem cell transfer.
A haploidentical bone marrow transplant was performed by Dr. Rahul Bhargava on October 31st, 2013 at Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon and Harith is healthy and well today. Harith’s diseased marrow was replaced with healthy bone marrow from his mother so that it would make healthy blood in his body. There were no identical donors available for Harith.
 
The surgeon, who successfully conducted the procedure Dr. Bhargava, Sr. Consultant said, “When we talk of a match, it means HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) or proteins on immune cells must be identical to those of the donor. The immune system uses these proteins to recognize cells that belong in the body versus those that do not. These identical donors are difficult to get. There is only 30 percent chance of finding an identical match amongst siblings. As each parent is a half match to the offspring, we decided to give Harith bone marrow from his mother.” He further explained, “We planted the new bone marrow into Harith and then gave him medications to destroy the malign blood cells in his body. The medications allow the new bone marrow to establish new blood cells and a new immune system in the new body.”


Post haplo-identical transplantation, the body reacts fiercely against the unmatched bone marrow and may also kill the patient. Hence, this half-matched bone marrow is more complex and complicated surgery to perform. The transplant was done about one and a half months ago. Patient was monitored for a period of two to three weeks to know if the transplant has been effective.
 
Harith underwent intense chemotherapy followed by cleaning of the bone marrow, moderating its immunity (to make it an effective recipient) before the transplant. It is about 50 days since the transplant and he has shown incredible recovery; Harith comes to Artemis once a week for check up now.
 
Stem cell transplants give a hope for innumerable fatal blood cancer related issues which are incurable by conventional treatment procedures. India is now in league with the US and with this treatment procedure, blood cancer is no longer a death sentence for the patients. What we need is early discovery of the disease and awareness of the cure. To make the treatments and benefits available and within reach to the masses, Artemis Health Institute is launching a dedicated centre with modern facilities for Bone Marrow Transplant in January 2014.


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