Doctors at FMRI, India successfully conducted bone marrow transplants on 3 Iraqi thalassemia patients from the same family, aged 10, 13, and 19 years respectively. All three youngsters were detected at an early age with thalassemia major in Iraq. After being admitted to FMRI, under the expert care of Dr Vikas Dua, Principal Director & Head, Paediatric Haematology, Paediatric Haemato Oncology & BMT, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, alongwith his team of expert doctors, the patients underwent matched sibling donor Hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
The family of the 3 Iraqi patients was counseled and explained in detail about all the pros and cons pertaining to stem cell transplant. After getting informed consent, all three were admitted for a matched sibling donor stem cell transplant, which went off successfully. The donors had also come all the way from Iraq to help save their siblings. All three patients were discharged within 14 days of being admitted.
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that is passed on through genes from the parents to their children and it causes the body to have less hemoglobin than normal. These 3 bone marrow transplants are a testimony to the availability of advanced medical infrastructure and affordable treatment options in India for thalassemia patients, though unfortunately, there is very little awareness of the same.
Speaking about the rare BMT procedure, Dr Vikas Dua said, “The uniqueness about these 3 patients was their younger age. All the patients had severe iron overload due to blood transfusions from an early age after diagnosis. This can lead to heart and liver damage. What people need to understand is that the earlier the patients undergo BMT, the better is their chances of survival with minimal complexities.”
Dr Rahul Bhargava, Principal Director & Chief BMT, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, India said, “India has the largest number of children with Thalassemia major in the world – about 1 to 1.5 lakh patients and almost 42 million thalassemia carriers. Given the alarming figures, there’s little awareness of the treatments and facilities available to treat thalassemia. Fortis Gurugram has a dedicated team of Hematologists alongwith the best of medical infrastructure to treat the most complex cases. Timely treatment and diagnosis are the key to recovery in critically ill Thalassemic patients.”