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Stem cell transplantation from unrelated donor saves 2-year-old

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Stem cell transplantation from unrelated donor saves 2-year-old
Posted On: 14-Apr-2014

Stem cell transplantation from unrelated donor saves 2-year-old

Alisa Schubert Yuasa,TNN | Apr 7, 2014, 06.05 PM IST

NEW DELHI: A 2-year-old boy previously suffering from Thalassemia Major was diagnosed as free from the blood disorder following a successful stem cell transplantation from an Indian donor. This is the first reported case in the country of Thalassemia being cured from the stem cells of an unrelated donor.

In India, 10,000 to 12,000 infants are born with Thalassemia Major every year. Thalassemia is caused by variant or missing genes that affect how the body makes haemoglobin. Patients diagnosed with Thalassemia can only survive if given frequent blood transfusions, and are dependent on their families to provide for them medically and financially.

Garvit Goel (2) was one of the unlucky children diagnosed with Thalassemia Major, and when a match could not be found amongst his relatives, BLK Super speciality hospital turned to DATRI Blood Stem Cells Donors Registry to find a genetically matching donor. Against all odds a match was found in Sumeet Mahajan, a software professional working in Bangalore.

"There is a 25% chance of finding a matching donor amongst ones siblings, but if a related donor is not found the possibility of finding a matching donor decreases dramatically," says Dr. Dharma Choudhary from BLK speciality hospitals, who facilitated the transplant. "Finding a matching unrelated donor of Asian ethnicity is about one in a million, or even 10 million. That is why it was so incredible that we found a genetically matching donor who was unrelated to young Garvit."

The PBSC (Peripheral Blood Stem Cell) transplant was carried out last year in April, and on Friday young Goel was diagnosed as free from Thalassemia. He no longer has to worry of constant blood transfusions or staying as a dependent when he grows up.

DATRI Blood Stem Cells Donors Registry, an NGO dedicated to save lives from life threatening diseases, is working towards increasing the database of registered potential donors, a database that is currently very small in India. "Transplantations like the one performed on young Goel have the potential to extend the life span of hundreds of patients and enhance their quality of life," says Raghu Rajagopal, CEO of DATRI. He encourages people to come forward and register to donate blood stem cells. The registry currently has 56,000 volunteer donors.

Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Stem-celltransplantation-from-unrelated-donor-saves-2-year-old/articleshow/33397921.cms


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