Success rate of blood cancer treatment with stem-cell transplant is now 80%: Experts
There is a need to launch massive awareness among the masses about the treatment of blood cancer through stem-cell transplant, stressed doctors adding that only one in a million people can find a matching donor.
Pointing out that blood cancer patients face significant challenges in India for treatment with stem cell transplantation, they said that this is because of primarily owing to the difficulty in finding a matching donor as only one in a million people can find a fully matching donor.
Dr Narendra Agarwal, Senior Consultant, Department of Hemato-Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplant, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi, said, “Blood cancer poses a grave challenge in India, impacting numerous lives yearly. With over one lakh new cases reported annually, effective treatments are paramount. However, the scarcity of suitable donors remains a concern, as the chance of finding a full match is approximately one in a million. Stem cell transplant has emerged as a powerful treatment modality in the battle against blood cancer.”
“We have witnessed remarkable outcomes and improved survival rates by harnessing the power of healthy blood cells. While the outcome may vary based on individual and disease characteristics, timely interventions have shown successful treatment in 60-70% of the cases. With advancements in conditioning regimens, the success rate has further soared to 80%. Whether it's leukaemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma, stem cell transplantation is a transformative therapy that regenerates a healthy blood and immune system,” he explained.
“By raising awareness, expanding the donor registry, and fostering a culture of giving, we can overcome this hurdle and offer hope to those battling blood cancers in India."
“As a haematologist, I witness the devastating impact of blood cancer daily, and I understand the pain and urgency experienced by patients awaiting a life-saving stem cell transplant. It's time for us to step up, unite, and make a difference,” Dr Narendra added.
Despite the transformative potential of this treatment, a shortage of suitable donors is a major obstacle, leaving patients in a race against time to find a matching donor before they succumb to the disease. There is thus a critical need for more awareness and support for blood cell transplantation in India from the people and medical community.
Experts said this at an event organized by DKMS BMST Foundation India, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer, ahead of World Blood Cancer Day. They highlighted the need to bridge the awareness gap and foster a stronger culture of voluntary blood stem cell donation in India.
Blood cancer, a life-threatening condition affecting thousands of individuals in India, often necessitates the intervention of a blood stem cell transplant as the last hope for survival.
However, a mere 30% of patients requiring a transplant are fortunate enough to find a suitable match within their own family. The remaining 70% rely on the challenging task of finding an unrelated donor with a matching profile, further exacerbating the difficulties patients and their families face. Every year, over 70 thousand precious lives are lost to blood cancer in India, while the number of blood stem cell donors stands at a meagre 0.04%.