Other States

75 free bone marrow transplants in six years in Odisha hospital

The SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack on Thursday achieved a major milestone by performing its 75th bone marrow transplant – the highest in any State government-run hospital in the country.

The Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Unit of the hospital extends the treatment free of cost – a pioneering effort in the country. Of the 75 cancer patients who have undergone the complex transplant procedure, 70 have been found to be healthy while five have passed away.

“The bone marrow transplant, which a poor patient cannot dream of availing, is extended free of cost in our facility. The Health and Family Welfare Department of Odisha bears the cost of the treatment. Probably no government-run hospital in eastern India has performed so many BMTs,” said R.K. Jena, head of Clinical Haematology Department in S.C.B. Medical College and Hospital and the man behind this unique endeavour.

A BMT unit started functioning in the hospital on February 26, 2014. In the last six years, Dr. Jena and his team have been conscientiously trying make life better for cancer patients.

Expensive procedure

BMT is a procedure to replace damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. In private sector hospitals, a patient has to cough up about ₹10 lakh for a BMT. In the SCB facility, the cost incurred on each BMT ranges between ₹70,000 and ₹1 lakh. Of the 75 patients, 65 belong to below poverty line. Now, around 30 patients are waiting to avail of BMT at SCB.

Dr. Jena, who was also former president of Indian Society of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, said only private hospital Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, had done higher number of BMTs than SCB Medical College.

All BMTs have been carried out through Stem Cell Apheresis procedure. “In all cases we have successfully mobilised and collected adequate stem cells by a single procedure, unlike other centres needing one to three procedures. Restricting to one procedure reduces cost,” he observed.

Of the 75 cancer patients, five were above 65 years and conducting BMT on them was no mean achievement. As per Indian Journal of Cancer, very few hospitals in the country have attempted BMT involving elderly persons. Dr. Jena said, “We conducted BMT on one patient who was 74 years old.”

The Odisha government has given the green light to starting more complicated procedures like Allogeneic BMT and Haploidentical BMT from this centre.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 7:56:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/75-free-bone-marrow-transplants-in-six-years-in-odisha-hospital/article30875250.ece

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