A 10-year-old boy from Kolar has received a life-saving bone marrow transplant from a German man.
The boy, Sam, was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia in June. This is a condition wherein the bone marrow in the body is unable to generate mature red blood cells, platelets, or white blood cells. This results in anaemia due to the lack of these blood cells.
While the treatment for aplastic anaemia generally consists of giving supportive care, including frequent blood transfusions, in Samâ€™s case doctors realized that his condition was fatal and he would require a transplant, without which he would not be able to survive.
However, no match was found amidst the 3 lakh donors registered in India. Doctors at Narayana Health hunted for a match internationally and were able to find a match in the German registry.
â€śWhen we could not find a donor in the Indian registry, we desperately searched for one in all the registries and found a donor in the German registry. Thankfully, this donor was willing to donate bone marrow rather than peripheral blood stem cells, which helped in this case,â€ť said Sharat Damodar, Clinical Director at Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre and Head, Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Narayana Health, to The Hindu.
Once a match was confirmed, the stem cells from the donor were hand carried to India by an individual. According to Sharat, there are certain protocols which must be followed when handling these cells and they were following aptly.
He was also reported to have said that India is lagging in terms of maintaining a proper bone marrow transplant (BMT) registry, especially considering the countryâ€™s population. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing is the method sought to identify a bone marrow donor and can be expensive.
Sam underwent the transplant procedure in October and his health seems to be doing well. According to reports, the boy has returned to his daily life and is active and healthy.