Hematopoietic Stem Cell or Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT):
BMT is a life-saving treatment used worldwide for patients with Leukemia, Aplastic Anemia, Thalassemia, bone marrow dysplasia and other such blood disorders.
WHERE ARE STEM CELLS FOUND?
Stem cells are found in the bone marrow or umbilical cord blood. Blood stem cells can be donated by tissue (HLA) matched donors either from peripheral blood by apheresisor the bone marrow.
With more than 14,000 known HLA characteristics that can occur in millions of combinations, finding a match is extremely rare. Only around25% to 30% of the patients needing BMT have a tissue (HLA)-matched sibling donor available. The rest of the patients have to depend on the several unrelated stem cell donor Registries and Umbilical Cord Blood Banks that have been set up in almost all countries around the world.
WHAT IS THE NEED FOR BMT:
In India, there are thousands of patients with blood disorders who can benefit from Stem Cell or Bone Marrow Transplantation. Few common disorders are:
1. Blood & Lymphatic system cancers which includes Leukemia (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL); Acute Myelogenous Leukemia(AML), andChronic Myelogenous Leukemia(CML); Hodgkin’s & Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas and Multiple Myeloma
a. Leukemia is the most common childhood Cancer, being 25% to-40% of all childhood Cancers with 60% to 85% being ALL
b. Several studies have suggested that allogeneic bone marrow transplantation offers abetter chance of cure
than conventional chemotherapy for children with ALL who enter a second remission after hematologic relapse
c. Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is the only potentially curative treatment for CML
2. Thalassemia, a genetic disorder where there is increased destruction of Red Blood Cells leading to chronic Anemia
a. An estimated 20 million carriers and 10,000 children are born each year with Thalassemia Major.
b. Thalassemia Major patients need blood transfusions every month, lifelong.
c. BMT is the only potentially curative treatment for Thalassemia.
3. Aplastic Anemia, a disorder caused by a variety of reasons whichleads to severely low production of all
cells of the bone marrow.
a. While incidence of Aplastic Anemia in the western world is estimated to be around 2 per million population, in India
and other Asian countries it could be as high as 6 to 8 per million.
b. BMT is usually the only chance of a life-saving treatment.
ALLOGENEIC BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION IN INDIA
The number of Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplantations carried out in India has been growing steadily in the last decades.
The average cost of allogeneic BMT in India is considerably lower than the cost in the West.
The experience in the last decades has proved that it is possible to develop a good allogeneic bone marrow transplant program in India with results that are comparable to those achieved in the West at a significantly lower cost.
However, one of the limiting factors for the BMT programme in India is the lack of a nation-wide level unrelated marrow donor registry with a sufficient number of donors to take care of the HLA diversity in the country.
Most of the Bone Marrow (Stem Cell) transplants done in India in the last 20 years have been facilitated by matching sibling donors.
Today, there are increasing instances of patients finding unrelated HLA matched donors, thanks to international registries such as DKMS Germany
, DKMS UK
, DKMS USA
and the USA based NMDP
Given the large number of patients seeking an unrelated HLA matching donor and the ethnic diversity of India, there is an URGENT need for more and more Indians to step up and pledge to be potential Stem Cell Donors.
The Stem Cell Registry India (SCRI), an initiative of NGO Bangalore Medical Services Trust (BMST), Rotary Bangalore ttk Blood Bank seeks your support to expand the base of committed potential Stem Cell Donors.
For any queries or to register with our Stem Cell Registry India, please contact the SCRI, BMST Team at:
Phone: +9180 2521 2117 / 2115 / 2113