Bond strengthened: Eight-year-old Thamirabharuni, holding her brother who donated the stem cells, did not suffer from rejection or graft versus host disease as the tissue match was perfect – Photo: V. Ganesan
Eight-year-old Thamirabharuni and her one-year-old brother Pugazhendhi share a special kind of bond not commonly seen among siblings. Thanks to her brother, Thamirabharuni no longer suffers from thalassemia disease.
The stem cells transplanted in March helped her get rid of thalassemia. And hundred days after the procedure, one can safely say that her disease has been cured.
The stem cells that were transplanted came from two different sources
The extensive research on stem cells has revolutionised the way life-threatening diseases like leukaemia and aplastic anaemia can be treated.
But there are several steps before these diseases can be treated using stem cells.
To begin with, the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)-typing of the patient is done. Doctors then get into the process of finding a matched donor from the computerised list made available to them by National Marrow Donor Programme (NMDP), U.S., and New York Cord Blood Bank.
If registration of potential bone marrow donors has been in place for a long time, the emergence of a number of cord blood
Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori di Milano
Methods to provide safer stem cell transplants to individuals who are not completely compatible with the donor are being developed. Encouraging results have come from a post-transplant cellular therapy, which strengthens the immune system against viral infections and tumors, developed for the first time at the National Tumor Institute (INT) in Milan. The INT conducted the first phase I-II study in the world, published in ‘Blood’, whose main objective was to assess the use of a low dose radiochemotherapy, followed by low dose post-transplant infusions CD8-depleted donor lymphocytes after