Six-year-old thalassemia major patient from Amritsar, undergoes a bone marrow transplant ,meets donor

Six-year-old thalassemia major patient from Amritsar, undergoes a bone marrow transplant ,meets donor

BENGLURU,May19: Fateh Singh, a six-year-old thalassemia major patient from Amritsar, underwent a bone marrow transplant last May which gave him a new lease of life. A year later, the boy met his saviour, Naval Chaudhary, whose stem cells were used for the procedure. The child was diagnosed with the condition when he was one-and-a-half years old.

On Thursday, the donor and recipient met for the first time. Naval, 28, a professional living in Bengaluru, had registered with DATRI, an unrelated blood stem cell donors registry in 2015. He said: “I was very happy to hear I was a potential match for a patient. But then I was told the donation process had to be done through bone marrow harvesting. Initially, I was a tad hesitant but then I researched the procedure and was counselled by Dr Sunil Bhat, paediatric haemato-oncologist from Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre.”

“I realized that saving a life is more important than the type of procedure I had to go through. So I decided to go ahead,” he added.
Dr Bhat conducted the transplant in 2016. “We see a number of patients suffering from fatal blood disorders like blood cancer and thalassemia, for which the last resort is stem cell transplant. For many years, there was no hope for such patients. But registries like DATRI are changing that,” he said.

He added that for non-malignant conditions such as thalassemia, a patient responds well to transplant when the cells are directly harvested from the donor’s marrow. “Donation of blood stem cells through a peripheral collection or from the marrow are both established procedures followed across the world,” Dr Bhat explained.
In Karnataka, over 27,000 potential blood stem cell donors are registered with DATRI. “This definitely calls for more awareness across the state on the importance of saving lives through blood stem cell donation,” said Raghu Rajagopal, co-founder, CEO of DATRI.
The probability of finding a match in a blood stem cell donor is 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 2 million. If a match is found, the donor is probably the only person who can save the patient.
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