On Monday, 24 August 2015, During a press meet, Dharamshila Hospital And Research Centre, Delhi (India) proudly announces that in the last 12 months, over 25 Haploidentical BMT have been performed by the BMT Physicians of Dharamshila Hospital for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and aplastic anaemia with 90% success rate. The latest achievement opens a new window of opportunity for patients with Sickle Cell Anaemia and Thalassemia.
Dr. Suparno Chakrabarti, Program Director, BMT at Dharamshila Hospital informed the press that “The father of a 24 year old lady from Nigeria wrote about her daughter’s sufferings. She was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at the age of 3 years and since then had repeated episodes of epilepsy, skin rash, recurrent joint pains and swellings ultimately resulting in destruction of her shoulder joint. When the patient was evaluated by Dr Sarita Jaiswal and team at Dharamshila Hospital, they found that the young lady was suffering from a combination of sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia. BMT for adults with either sickle cell disease or Thalassemia, even from matched donors, is rarely done due to the high risk of complications. This patient had been to other European countries in the past and no one had dared to perform a BMT on her. BMT for either sickle cell disease or thalassemia has its own unique range of problems. However, given the vast experience of carrying out Haploidentical BMT in a wide variety of conditions including Thalassemia in children, Dr Sarita Jaiswal innovated a new way of carrying out Haploidentical BMT with stem cells of patient’s mother. This process lasted for 6 weeks and the procedure was a success with the patient now carrying 95% of mother’s blood cells in her and alleviated of all her problems. This is a story of grit and determination, both on the part of the treating team and the patient. When the rest of the world had turned their back on this unfortunate young girl, Dr Sarita Jaiswal and the team from Dharamshila Hospital showed once again that with a proper infrastructure, dedication and research, impossible feats can be achieved”
Dr. Sarita Jaiswal, Consultant – BMT and Haematology at Dharamshila Hospital And Research Centre says that “BMT requires a fully HLA matched family donor which is available to only 20% of patients due to biological laws of genetics. The chance of finding a random HLA-match in the population is less than one in a million. Yet, the western world has developed volunteer unrelated marrow donor registries which meets the need of their population to a large extent. The complex social and economic equations in our system have thwarted the development of such large scale registries in India. The same holds true for another source of blood stem cell transplantation i.e. public cord blood banks which could otherwise offer an alternate source of transplantation, particularly in children.
Faced with this unique problem in our country, Dharamshila Hospital has started a HAPLOIDENTICAL (HLA HALF MATCHED FAMILY DONOR) BMT program. Every individual is HLA-half matched with their parents and children and siblings (90% of time). Graft for BMT from such donors required expertise, experience and infrastructure. About 10 centres in the world now carry out Haploidentical BMT in patients lacking a matched sibling. Dharamshila Hospital has started this journey along with these select groups across Europe, USA and China. Dogged perseverance, dedication and cutting edge research have enabled us to make Haploidentical BMT a success story in India as well.
Dr. Suparno further added that “It started with patients dying of leukemia not responding to treatment as Haploidentical BMT was deemed as beyond the realm of possibility in India by the national experts. Slowly we have proved the success of the procedure and moved on to treat all sorts of blood cancers and aplastic anemia. As recognition of our research, the study was selected for an oral presentation at the Annual BMT meeting of American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) and Centre for International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry (CIBMTR) in February 2015 at San Diego, USA. Dr Sarita Jaiswal presented our study of Haploidentical BMT on 41 patients, demonstrating improving outcome in both leukemia and aplastic anemia over the years. The innovations in the field, emanating from India were an eye-opener for all present in the meeting. Dr Jaiswal presented the data on how they have selected anticancer cells from the donors and given them to the patients after Haploidentical transplantation. It was indeed heartening to see that we are not blindly importing technology, but creating our own to meet our own needs. Dr Sarita Jaiswal now leads the Haploidentical BMT program at Dharamshila Cancer Hospital, New Delhi, which is equipped with the best clinical and laboratory infrastructure to carry out such transplants.”
Dharamshila Hospital is North India’s first and largest cancer Hospital offering comprehensive cancer care using latest and most powerful tools of technology for more than two decades.