Amrita Hospital in Kerala makes use of rare treatment to save 19 yr-old

Thursday, Nov 27, 2014,21:30 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kochi | A Kerala-based private hospital has claimed to have used a new protocol for treating acute blood cancer, thus giving a new lease of life to a 19-year-old girl.
Neena’s disease slipped into a life-threatening stage even after two cycles of chemotherapy. She did not have a human leukocyte antigen, or HLA matched donor for a stem cell transplant, the standard procedure for such situations.
This prompted a team of specialists led by Dr Neeraj Sidharth, Head of Bone and Marrow Transplant programme at Amrita hospital, to try ‘microtransplant’, a relatively new treatment protocol, for the first time in the country, a hospital release said.
The protocol involved normal chemotherapy followed by infusion of intentionally mismatched cells and is based on immunological killing of leukemic cells.
The result was a success and Neena can possibly spring back to her normal life, though long-term data on a larger number of patients was required to validate the medical procedure, the release said.
What we attempted was similar to what has been already tried in Israel and China and published in reputed science journals, said Dr Sidharth, who was guided by experts in the field from John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, United States and from China.    Unlike normal treatment for acute blood cancer, this procedure does not require heavy dose of chemotherapy.
Microtransplant is cost effective – one fifth of the cost of standard treatment available and the patient needed to be hospitalised for just three weeks, he said.