CUTTACK: “I want to live. Don’t give up on me. Do anything. I am ready for all risks.” These very words of Abhiram Jena of Bedhapal village in Dhenkanal district proved to be the driving force for the doctors of the Clinical Haematology department of SCB Medical College and Hospital to set yet another milestone by conducting Odisha’s first allogenic bone marrow transfusion (BMT).
The team on Saturday successfully conducted the procedure using stem cells from a donor, Abhiram’s sister Laxmipriya (19), giving hope of a new life to the 21-year-old youth suffering from a relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of blood cancer. While the premier State-run hospital has been conducting autologous BMT since 2014, the allogenic BMT procedure marks a significant advancement in healthcare system of Odisha.
In autologous BMT, a patient’s own stem cells are used, while the allogenic BMT uses stem cells from a matching donor, who can be a relative or a volunteer. Completely funded by the State government, the allogenic BMT conducted at select hospitals in the country will now be available at low costs for the patients suffering from blood cancer or other serious blood disorders.
State’s first allo-BMT conducted at SCBMCH
The same procedure costs around Rs 30 lakh outside the State with waiting period of at least one year.
“Abhiram suffered a relapse of his cancer. But, he did not lose hope and continued to push us to attempt allogenic BMT, which he himself researched on the internet. We were actually inspired by his will to take up the challenge. Fortunately, his sister’s human leukocyte antigen (HLA) matched 100 per cent and we decided to go ahead,” said head of Clinical Haematology dept Prof RK Jena.
The team included Prof Jena, Dr S Sethy, Dr RK Nayak, Dr M Biswal, Dr D Prusty and the paramedical unit with support from other departments like transfusion medicine, pulmonary medicine, anaesthesiology, nephrology and cardiology, etc.
“This landmark BMT will create opportunity for cure of many blood and other diseases like thalassemia, sickle cell disease, aplastic anaemia, various blood cancers, other cancer and diseases. These diseases taken together are huge in number with significant socio-economic burden in our State,” Prof Jena said.
Since the start of BMT unit at SCBMCH, as many as 85 cases of autologous BMT have been successfully conducted and more than 90 per cent are doing fine.
With complete funding by the State government, the cost of the BMT, which used to be around Rs 10-15 lakh, is almost free for the patients. Even the private hospitals have brought down their charges to Rs 2-5 lakh under its impact. Several states have also followed the Odisha model.
“This achievement is in line with the vision of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to transform SCBMCH into a world-class Centre of Excellence and provide best healthcare to the people of our State. We have received complete support of the State Health department, SCBMCH authorities including Dean Prof Datteswar Hota to take this forward,” Prof Jena said.