All You Need To Know About Bone Marrow Transplant In India | Milaap
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All You Need To Know About Bone Marrow Transplant In India

World Health Organisation reports says India ranks 3rd having the highest number of hematological cancer patients in the world after the US and China. Leukemia ranked 9th among the top 20 cancer that affects the Indian population. The rise in the number of blood-related diseases cases every year has substantially led to the rise of bone marrow transplant in India.

What is a bone marrow transplant?

Bone Marrow is a factory that produces red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, immune cells and platelets. When the bone marrow is damaged or when it stops producing cells in the body, it is then that one needs to undergo a bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant is a surgical procedure where a diseased or non-functioning bone marrow is replaced with a healthy bone marrow. People who are diagnosed with blood diseases such as Thalassemia, Hodgkins Lymphoma, Leukemia, Aplastic Anaemia sometimes need to undergo a bone marrow transplant to get better.

How is a donor matched?

About 20% of patients who needs to undergo bone marrow transplant have parents or siblings as their donor. While only 10% of the rest who do not have their parent or sibling matched, could find unrelated donors. A donor is matched when their HLA (human leukocyte antigen)  is closely matched with the patient's HLA. It is a protein in the immune system that will determine whether the patient will react to donated transplant. Additional blood tests and other screening tests are also done to qualify the donor.

Autologous Transplant

Autologous  transplant means the stem cells are removed from the patient by bone marrow harvest and kept frozen before high dose chemotherapy or radiation treatment. After chemotherapy/radiation therapy, the extracted stem cells are put back in the patient's body to make normal blood cells. Compared to other types, autologous transplant is much cheaper.  

Allogeneic Transplant 

This type of transplant involves the extraction of stem cells from another person, called a donor. The different types of transplant in allogeneic transplant are as follows:

  1. Unrelated bone marrow transplant: When the patient has no suitable donor in the family, then genetically matched stem cells are extracted from an unrelated donor who can be either living or deceased. Such type of donors is provided by national bone marrow registries such as Marrow Donor Registry India (MDRI), DATRI, Stem Cell Registry India (STRI) that provides helps in providing a potential donor to the patients.

  1. Haploidentical bone marrow transplant: When the patient has a partially identical suitable match who is either the parents or the sibling, then such donors are called as a haploidentical match.

What is the cost of Bone marrow transplant?

The cost of bone marrow transplant in India is comparatively less than other countries.  According to DNA India report, the cost of bone marrow transplant in India will be approximately Rs.15 lakh to Rs.40 lakh. In a government-run setup, the cost may come down up to 40%.

Cost Breakup

Pre-transplant expenses for the tests and procedures like bone marrow test, bone marrow biopsy, regular blood tests that the patient has to undergo to determine whether the patient is physically ready for the transplant are included that can cost up to 3 - 4 lakh.

Chemotherapy/ Radiation therapy is done before transplant to kill the cancer cells and suppress the immune system so that the body doesn’t reject the transplanted stem cells. Depending on the number of chemo sessions required, the cost for this procedure can be approximately 8 - 10 lakh.

The cost of the transplant varies from donor to donor. The approximate cost of an analogous work up to 10 - 12 lakh. For a transplant where the donor is a haploidentical match, the process is quite complicated and needs intensive therapy that costs up to 18 - 20 lakh.

Post-transplant expenses include antibiotics and anti-fungal infections treatment and blood and platelet support that can cost up to 2 to 5 lakh.

The cost of transplant varies from region to region and hospital to hospital. Other factors such as the age of the patient, the severity of the disease, the medical history of the patient and other similar factors affect the cost of the treatment.

Success Rate

The success rate of bone marrow transplant in India is relatively high. As reported by the Economic Times, the success rate of BMT is 20% in uncontrolled blood cancers to 80% in young, fit patients with blood-related disorder that can be transplanted before it gets severe.  With advanced medical facilities and specialized doctors to take care,  Bone Marrow Transplantation centres in India provides the best and cost-effective cure to blood-related diseases.