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Stem Cell Care@SUM

Bhubaneswar: Doctors at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital here have successfully treated a 52-year-old woman suffering from Multiple Myeloma, a type of blood cancer, through Stem Cell Transplantation (SCT).

The patient had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma about 18 months ago following which she was under chemotherapy treatment in another private hospital from where she was referred to IMS and SUM Hospital for SCT.

The patient was treated with a different regimen as she had not responded favourably to the earlier one prior to undergoing SCT, Prof. Priyanka Samal, Head of the Department of Hematology, told newspersons here on Friday.

SCT was one of the options open to the patient which was discussed with her and her family members before deciding on the procedure.

The doctors had to be extra careful as she had been diagnosed with kidney failure when the disease was first detected in her. This was because the patient had to undergo high dose chemotherapy prior to SCT, Prof. (Dr.) Samal said.

“We took all necessary precaution to ensure that the delicate procedure could be taken up after obtaining the patient’s best response to the therapy and with optimal control of all co-morbidities,” she said.

After other departments gave the clearance for undertaking SCT, the patient underwent the procedure with BSKY support. All the parameters post-SCT were good and the patient was discharged in a stable condition, Prof. Samal said.

Besides Prof. (Dr.) Samal, Prof. (Dr.) Pusparaj Samantasinhar, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Prof. (Dr.) Girijanandini Kanungo, Head of Department of Transfusion Medicine and Dr. Pritish Chandra Patra, Associate Professor in the Department of Hematology, were present during the news conference.

IMS and SUM Hospital being a multidisciplinary healthcare centre, a multidisciplinary approach was followed with the Department of Hematology and Department of Transfusion Medicine joining hands.

Explaining the SCT procedure, also known as Bone Marrow Transplantation, Prof. (Dr.) Samal said when the patient was found to be either free or with minimal cancer cells, high dose chemotherapy is administered to kill the residual diseased cells as well as the normal cells. Following the high dose chemotherapy, the healthy stem cells are infused as a rescue procedure to further evolve into normal blood cells.

In this case, the cells were harvested from the patient’s own body, preserved and then reintroduced into her bone marrow. The process comprising harvesting, preservation and administration into the body of the patient was conducted by the hospital’s Department of Transfusion Medicine.

“It is a difficult procedure which is conducted with much care and involvement of multiple departments. Our hospital has all necessary facilities to undertake the same,” Prof. (Dr.) Kanungo said.

The patient, Snehalata Sahu, who was present during the press conference, said she was doing fine after six months of the procedure and her condition was being monitored by the doctors on a regular basis.

“After I was detected with Multiple Myeloma, I could not undergo treatment for several months because of the high cost involved. I also lost my husband during the period,” she said.

Her entire treatment, however, was taken up under the state government sponsored Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) and she didn’t have to pay anything, Sahu said.

Prof. (Dr.) Samantasinhar said 75 per cent of the patients visiting the hospital were being treated under the BSKY scheme.