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More efforts are required to tackle thalassemia: Doctors

Doctors said that more efforts are required to tackle the menace of thalassemia, a blood disorder involving lower-than-normal amounts of an oxygen-carrying protein.

Addressing a conference awareness program around thalassemia,  Dr Gaurav Kharya, Advisor, Bone Marrow Transplant & Cellular Therapy and Senior Consultant, Pediatric Hematology, Oncology & Immunology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi,  said, “Thalassemia major is a preventable illness, thus more efforts and awareness is required to help people understand the ways of preventing thalassemia. Having said this there are a large number of kids who continue to suffer from thalassemia with huge psychological and financial burden leading to poor quality of life and decreased life expectancy.”

“Just like being preventable, for kids affected with thalassemia major, it is very much a curable disease by offering a bone marrow transplant using either hla identical or haploidentical donor. The purpose of this conference is to spread awareness and allay anxiety about BMT as a cure for thalassemia major,” Dr Kharya added.

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Dr Amita Mahajan, Senior Consultant, Paediatrics Oncology and Hematology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi further added, “When we discuss Thalassemia, we know that people are not only very fearful but also there are a lot of misconceptions regarding its treatment.”

“While we have observed major advances in the management of thalassemia, however, myths and misconceptions regarding treatment and regarding care for the patients and their caregivers can compromise their quality of life in a detrimental way,” he added.

“The importance of awareness programs that highlight the latest developments in thalassemia care and treatment cannot be overstated. Additionally, it is crucial for the community to be informed about the preventive measures available for this disease,” Dr Mahajan explained.

As a part of Apollo’s initiative of providing advanced treatment to people across the country, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals organized an awareness event around the rising case of Thalassemia patients across India and the advanced media treatment available that provides a cure for all.

The conference focused on the signs and symptoms, treatment modalities, and diagnostic tests to promote treatment for Thalassemia.

Over the past year, the hospital has witnessed some challenging cases of Thalassemia and provided treatment via the advanced medical facilities available at the hospital. A recent case that involved a 5-year-old female child suffering from a known case of Transfusion Dependent Thalassemia received regular blood transfusion and iron chelation therapy.

The female child underwent a T cell-depleted haploidentical donor (transplant using a family member whose tissue type is half-matched to the patient) bone marrow transfusion with the help of her donor brother. The transplant was successful and her bone marrow shows 100% functional cells from her brother. 

 Another 4-year-old female child was also suffering from a known case of Transfusion Dependent Thalassemia and received regular blood transfusion and iron chelation therapy. However, due to the unavailability of an HLA identical donor, she was planned for a haploidentical family donor transfusion. The patient underwent the process and the transplant was successful.

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