Rare stem cell transplant saves life of 59-year-old

Haploidentical cases are likely to grow as the chances of getting an identical match of stem cell are extremely limited, says a doctor.

A haploidentical or half-matched stem cell transplantation has succeeded in saving the life of a 59-year-old patient with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) that was resistant to all other treatments. The donor was his 25-year-old son.

The procedure was done over a month ago at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences here and the patient has now been stepped down from the intensive care unit.

The patient from Thiruvananthapuram had a relapse of myelodysplastic syndrome transformed into AML.

Half-match procedure

As the search for a complete match of stem cell did not yield any results, the patient was ready for the half-match procedure.


“The haploidentical procedure is more complex and expensive. The procedure is not hi-tech but more care-oriented,” said Dr. Neeraj Sidharthan, who led a team of experts from haematology, medical oncology, transfusion medicine and other allied departments.

The haploidentical stem cell transplantation is much more expensive and the survival rates are said to be 25-30 per cent compared to the identical stem cell transplantation that has a survival rate of 60-70 per cent.

However, the haploidentical cases were likely to grow as the chances of getting an identical match of stem cell were extremely limited, said Dr. Neeraj.

In China

China, which has a one-child system, had started early in this process, because most of the matches were found among siblings, said Dr. Sidharthan.

“Our country has just begun exploring the possibilities,” he added.

There are also different methods of going about the haploidentical transplant. “We chose a method that was less expensive,” he added. The cost of the procedure that included importing medicines was limited to Rs.20 lakh, he said.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 4:45:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/rare-stem-cell-transplant-saves-life-of-59yearold/article6069164.ece

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