The first bone marrow transplant (BMT) in Odisha can take place as early as December this year with the BMT unit at the SCB Medical College and Hospital here entering final stage of establishment.
While the state-of-the-art transplant facility is ready with the structures and installation of equipment to go underway soon, the unit has got a huge boost as the head of Hematology Department Prof RK Jena is set to receive advanced training in BMT at the University of Minnesota, USA.
Prof Jena has been selected by the American Society of Hematology (ASH) for the three-month programme under the guidance of Fellowship Director of the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, Dr Linda Burns. Specialised training for the doctors and staff for conduct of BMT procedures has also started with the first batch of staff nurses and technicians completing their courses at the Tata Medical Centre (TMC), Kolkata.
The unit will start with two beds for autologous transplantation procedure and gradually include more sophisticated allogenic BMT with development of more specialised infrastructure. In the autologous BMT, unaffected bone marrow is retrieved from the patient before he undergoes chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The stored bone marrow is transplanted back in the patient after the treatment so that it can produce healthy blood cells again.
The Department of Hematology has readied six rooms for the BMT unit. Four rooms would be used for installation of the equipment like stem cell apheresis machine, a liquid nitrogen unit for storing the stem cells and bone marrow in the extreme low temperature along with other infrastructure.
Two rooms would be utilised for housing the bone marrow transplant patients and fitted with hepa filter system for ensuring totally sanitised and sterile conditions.The tenders for the machinery and equipment have been finalised and orders are being placed. The installation is expected to be completed in next couple of months, sources said.
The Government has also initiated the process of creation of posts for the BMT facility that includes two assistant professor, four senior residents, eight staff nurses and two laboratory technicians. Department currently functions with one professor, one associate professor and two assistant professors.
“The BMT facility will come as a boon for people suffering from leukaemia and other hematological malignancies as well as thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia. They need not go to centres outside the State as they can avail the treatment at drastically low cost. The BMT would cost around ` three to four lakh here against more than ` 10 lakh in other centres,” Jena said.