Stem cell donors camp to prove critical for patients seeking right match

Stem cell donors camp to prove critical  for patients seeking right match
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Kozhikode: Five-year-old children Muhammad Asnan and Niya Fathima could turn saviours for more than a dozen people, once the blood stem cell donation campaign for their benefit turns successful. The organisers are hopeful that matching donors could be found at the blood stem cell donor registration camp to be held here at the Tagore Centenary Hall on November 30.

Blood Donors Kerala (BDK) is holding the camp with the support of Datri, Kerala Beard Club and Thathwa. Similar camps were held in Ernakulam in July and Thrissur last week, said the organisers. Nearly 6,000 people attended the Ernakulam camp and the figure was more than 3,000 in Thrissur.

For a blood stem cell transplant to take place, there should be a 10 out of 10 match of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) between the donor and the recipient, which is very rare, says Datri Kerala donor counsellor Athulya Krishna. (HLA are proteins or markers found on most cells in your body.)

“The chance to get a matching stem cell from the family is 20%, which is very high. So, the patients seeking stem cell match outside would be those who failed to get a match among the families. In the case of Niya, her parents tried for a second child, who could be a donor, if the cell matched. However, unfortunately, her mother suffered a miscarriage, due to the frequent travelling from their home town at Ambalavayal to the Government Medical College, Kozhikode, for Niya's treatment,” said Athulya.

Niya is suffering from thalassaemia major and it was diagnosed after she turned one. Christian Medical College, Vellore, suggested stem cell transplant as the only solution, since her body cannot produce haemoglobin on its own. However, till a transplant is successful, the girl has to undergo blood transfusion, which is very expensive for the poor family. Earlier, transfusion was needed only once a month and now, she has to undergo blood transfusion at least once in a fortnight.

For Asnan, only two months are left to find a suitable donor, else his life would be in danger. Asnan is suffering from juvenile myeloid leukemia and like Niya, his disease was also detected at the Vellore hospital. However, his family came to know about the difficulty in getting a matching donor only after raising the amount for transplant through public funding. It is hoped matching donors could be found at the camp.

The donors will have to pay Rs 1,800 for each HLA typing, which means matching patients and donors for bone marrow or cord blood transplants.
For more details, contact BDK at 9809729129 or Datri at 9645078285. The camp will held from 9 am to noon.

According to Datri, India's blood stem cell donors' registry has nearly 4 lakh people registered across the country, and in Kerala it is 76,000. 

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