With a surge in deaths due to dearth of bone marrow donors, health experts have suggested that patients with blood cancer can prefer haploidentical stem cell transplantation, a new procedure that does not need complete match of donors tissues.
According to the doctors, the new procedure is a boon for blood cancer patients who have to wait for long time to find a complete match. This procedure will cut the waiting period for those needing immediate bone marrow transplant for survival.
“Through this procedure, if a donor’s tissues are only half identical with a patient’s, yet it works just as well as a complete match. The donor in this case may be the recipient’s parent, sibling, child or a family member,” said Dharma Chaudhury, director of bone marrow transplant at BLK hospital here.
This transplant involves matching a patient’s tissue type, specifically their human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type, with that of a related or unrelated donor.
Bone marrow transplant is recommended in case of incurable or possible fatal blood disorders such as acute leukemia, multiple myeloma, aplastic anaemia and thalassaemia major, which cannot be cured by conventional methods such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
According to the doctors, through there are a few side affects like mouth ulcers, infections, bleeding in lungs and intestine in normal bone marrow transplant, still the success rate of haploidentical transplant is essentially the same as for people who receive complete match transplants.
N. K Mehra, Former dean of AIIMS, told IANS that this procedure has resulted in a few successes though their condition in the long run is still being studied.
Gaurav Kharya, consultant pediatric hemato-oncologist, said: “It increases the chance of finding a donor as almost everyone has at least one haploidentical relative.”
However, the doctors said there was a risk, including recurrent infections.
“A lot of things depend on selection of right haploidentical donor from among the family members and deliver the most suitable ‘conditioning’ therapy to prevent graft failure,” said Kharya.