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Stem cell therapy can revolutionise cures

Date (2016-11-26)

 Chennai: There is hope for cancer patients and those  with genetic diseases  with stem cell therapy gaining  prominence in hospitals in Chennai. Recent  improvements in technology have opened ways to  cure even genetic  disorders like thalassemia. One of  the renowned methods developed to cure  such  diseases is stem cell transplantation, earlier known as  bone marrow  transplantation or BMT. Though this  technology was not prevalent in India,  the scenario is  slowly changing with more hospitals - government and    private - adopting it.

 To further create awareness about the technology,  Cancer Institute (WIA), on  Friday, which happens to  be Organ Donation Day, organised a human chain  on  its premises (photo on top).

 The event witnessed the active participation of  students, nurses, paramedics and doctors of Cancer Institute and volunteers from various NGOs.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Associate Professor of the Department of Oncology, Cancer Institute, Dr Prasanth Ganesan (photo on right), told 'News Today', "Stem cell transplantation is a procedure which can cure many genetic diseases like thalassemia, disorders like aplastic anemia, and cancers like leukemia. The process involves removal of certain cells, called stem cells, from the blood of the donor and giving it to the recipient. In this system, the entire blood system of the recipient is replaced by the donor's blood, thus helping in curing the underlying condition."

Dr Varalakshmi, said, "Every year, about 500 allogenic stem cell transplant procedures are done all over India and the numbers are increasing. At Cancer Institute, we have preformed over a 100 transplant procedures for various blood cancers during the last few years. The most common type of donor is the sibling (brother or sister) of the patient who has a high chance of matching with the patient."

"However, 75 per cent of  the patient may not get a matched sibling. They can potentially get a donor from the general population. However, since the chance of matching is low, a large pool of donors need to be created. Hence, there are stem cell registers created for this purpose. Unlike other organ donations, stem cell donation is a relatively simpler procedure with minimum risk / discomfort to the donor," added Dr Varalakshmi.

Over 30 students of B.Sc Radiotherapy participated in the human chain. "Cancer Institute is a multi-modal hospital. It contains all equipment. The patients are treated well by this organisation. We maintain a cordial relationship with patients,' said student R Prem Kumar. 'Cancer is not a contagious disease and we are safe from radiation," said another B.Sc Radiotherapy student, M Priyadharsini. "Many students are interested to donate stem cells and all we want is for this number to grow," said student S Kalaivani.

Dr Prasanth Ganesan said, "No specific procedure is carried out. No other treatment is carried for the donor and recipient of stem cell transplantation. Stem cells are taken from the live person. It is not a surgery. Earlier, for treatment, surgery was undertaken. Now, stem cells are taken through syringe and so no surgery is required. If the donor is a relative, the expenses are less, compared to others. It takes up to Rs 9 lakh if the donor is a relative and Rs 20 lakh if s/he is a stranger."

For poor people, government provides free treatment. This happens only in Tamilnadu. There are two types of transplants: one is halogenic, and the other is autologous. Halogenic transplantation takes place with another person. In autologous transplantation, donor and recipient are the same, he added.

Source : newstodaynet