MCC to get stem cell therapy unit

Health Minister P. K. Sreemathy has said that a bone marrow transplant unit and stem cell therapy unit will be set up for treatment of blood cancers at the Malabar Cancer Centre (MCC), Thalassery, with technical assistance from the Adult Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation unit of Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukie, USA.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, the Minister said that bone marrow transplantation was the most modern treatment for leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. This treatment was already available at the Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. However, there were problems in obtaining suitable bone marrow.

Stem cell transplantation, which was a more advanced and effective treatment, would help to solve the problems.

Stem cells could be harvested from cells in the placenta and umbilical cord which are discarded after child birth. The cells could be easily collected, typed and stored at birth, and unlike voluntary donors, are available immediately on demand for transplant. Public Cord Blood Banks could be established for storing the stem cells.

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