Bengaluru hospital 1st in India to use new Haploidentical stem cell transplant technique
Technology has revolutionized the entire gamut of healthcare. With the recent technological medical advances it is now possible to conduct stem cell transplant even when no matched donor is available. This is now made possible with the help of a new technique called haploidentical (half matched related) stem cell transplant. This newest technique was used for the first time in India at Bengaluru based Narayana Health giving a new lease of life to four year old Kulraj Singh, an Afghan Sikh refugee.
Until recent we knew of only allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell (HPC) transplant involving matching a patient’s tissue type, specifically their human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type, with that of a related or unrelated donor. A haploidentical related donor is usually a 50% match to the recipient coming from first degree relatives including siblings, children or parents.
Compared to the traditional stem cell transplant, haplo-identical transplant comes with shorter wait time for a stem cell transplant, which is beneficial for patients with aggressive leukemia and lymphomas and the stem cell transplant process is done in about 2-3weeks. Speaking to Techspirit about the haplo-identical stem cell transplant technique, Dr Sunil Bhat, Head, Paediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) unit at Narayana Health, who treated the boy said: “The boy was diagnosed with Amegakaryocytic Thrombocytopenia (AT) evolving into Aplastic anaemia, a life threatening genetic bone marrow disorder. For which stem-cell transplant was the only option of treatment. In most cases, success of a Bone Marrow Transplant depends on how well the donor’s and recipient’s HLA tissue types match. Transplant has best results when all the known major HLA antigens are a match. In Kulraj’s case this was the biggest challenge as no matching donor was available and the boy’s condition had started deteriorating. Hence we had to go ahead with the father’s stem cells, which matched only 50%.”
After a series of discussion, nearly after two months we first saw the boy, we conducted haplo-identical stem cell transplant using TCR Alpha/ Beta depletion on Kulraj. This is an advanced BMT technique for haplo transplants known for potentially better treatment outcomes and has been mostly used to treat certain types of cancer only. Using this TCR Alpha/ Beta depletion the good cells and the bad cells are separated, and only the good cells are transplanted, he further added.