Thalassemia-curedStem cell transplant help eight years old girl Thamirabharuni,  get rid of the deadly genetic blood disorder thalassemia. The transplant was done on last March, almost 100 days after the stem cell treatment one can surely say that the girl is cured from thalassemia.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder passed down through families in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The disorder results in excessive destruction of red blood cells and anemia.

Severe thalassemia can cause early death due to heart failure a, usually between ages 20 and 30. Frequent blood transfusions with therapy to remove iron from the body helps improve the outcome.

Thamirabharuni was treated with a combo package of stem cell transplant. The transplanted stem cells were collected from different sources of her one year old brother, some portion of required stem cells came from cord blood, which was harvested from the umbilical cord of her brother and was stored at Chennai based LifeCell International Pvt. Ltd., a private cord blood bank and the extra requirements was also fulfilled from the bone marrow of her brother.

The actual requirement of bone marrow was 200ml which was really not possible to collect from one year old Pugazhendhi brother of Thamirabharuni, but as luckily the cord blood was stored with LifeCell, both the bone marrow and cord blood collectively able to save the life of the young girl.

According to Dr. Revathy Raj, Consultant Paediatric Haemato Oncologist, Apollo Speciality Hospital, Chennai, though thalassemia is cured but the patient should be very careful regarding the risk of infection at least for a year, as she will be having immuno supressing drugs for one year to minimize the rejection risk of the transplanted stem cells and the graft versus host disease (GVHD) which also needs some time to be reduced.

However, as the tissue match was perfect Thamirabharuni, did not have to suffer from rejection or graft versus host disease.

Are you pregnant or planning to have a child in near future? If so, then never forget to save the umbilical cord blood of your child- it may truly save a life.

Source: The Hindu