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One-year-old Girl crosses continents for Sickle Cell Disease cure with Bone Marrow Transplant at Apollo Cancer Centre

Navi Mumbai, 24 April 2024: In a successful procedure that demonstrates the potential of bone marrow transplant (BMT) in curing Sickle Cell Disease, doctors at the Apollo Cancer Centre in Navi Mumbai (ACCNM) successfully treated a 14-month-old girl using the complex procedure. The young girl, a resident of Kenya, had been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease, a genetic condition in which the red blood cells are abnormally shaped, impairing the delivery of oxygen to the body’s tissues. The lifelong illness leads to complications such as severe anaemia requiring blood transfusion, recurrent episodes of severe pain, recurrent infections, stroke and sometimes end organ damage

The patient’s Sickle Cell Disease was causing her recurrent pain crises, known as vaso-occlusive crises, and she required frequent blood transfusions. Besides affecting her quality of life, it also placed a heavy emotional and financial burden on her family. They came to ACCNM for a solution. After a thorough evaluation, Dr. VipinKhandelwal, Consultant Pediatric Hemato-Oncologist, ACCNMdetermined that the girl would benefit from BMT. The search began for a donor. Fortunately, her 11-year-old brother proved to be a perfect HLA match, meaning his bone marrow was compatible for transplantation. This significantly increased the chances of a successful outcome.

“BMT offers a potential cure for Sickle Cell Disease, unlike other treatments that primarily manage symptoms,” explained Dr. VipinKhandelwal. “With a matched sibling donor, the success rate of achieving disease-free survival is over 90%, and this offers a dramatic improvement in the long-term outcomes for these patients.”

In this case, the transplant team harvested stem cells from the brother’s bone marrow under anaesthesia. These stem cells were then carefully infused into the patient to eventually take over the production of healthy red blood cells. While the procedure itself was successful, the young girl experienced some expected post-transplant complications, including neutropenic fever and mucositis. These were effectively managed by the dedicated medical team at Apollo Cancer Centre.

At her follow-up appointment, blood tests confirmed 100% donor cell engraftment, indicating that the transplanted stem cells were functioning normally and producing healthy red blood cells. This confirmed the success of the BMT and marked a significant milestone in the young girl’s journey towards a cure.

Mr. Santosh Marathe, Regional CEO Western Region, Apollo Hospitals Group said, “This case is a testament to the respect and fame that ACCNM has throughout the world for its expertise in paediatric haematology and oncology. With a dedicated and expertmedical team supported by the best of advanced medical infrastructure, we are proud to be at the forefront of medical innovation and remain committed to offering hope and advanced treatment options to patients with challenging conditions like Sickle Cell Disease.”

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