Bone marrow transplant in India – A patient story

Bone marrow transplant in India - A patient story
In India, bone marrow transplant (BMT) is a specialized procedure performed to treat various blood disorders and certain types of cancer. BMT involves replacing damaged or diseased bone marrow with healthy stem cells to restore normal blood cell production. Leading hospitals and medical centers across India offer advanced BMT techniques, including autologous and allogeneic transplants. India's expertise in BMT attracts patients from around the world seeking high-quality care and affordable treatment options.

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This story is about bone marrow transplant in India. Mukhtar, who is from Assela in Ethiopia, suffers from deadly aplastic anemia. He travels to India for his stem cell transplant. Read the entire story here.

Mukhtar

Mukhtar is a young, 19-year-old Ethiopian who is pursuing his pharmacy degree from a reputed university in Assela, Ethiopia. A tall and handsome boy who love playing football, reading books and having a strong family bond. He lives in Assela, Ethiopia with his parents, 3 brothers and a sister.

Mukhtar from Ethiopia BMT patient

Mukhtar with his father and brother at New Delhi airport

Early Symptoms of Aplastic Anemia

Suddenly, one fine day, he realized that he was tiring quite often while playing. Also, he is becoming more susceptible to frequent infections. Initially, the family thought it to be a routine infection and did home-based traditional treatments. However, the events of fatigue, infection kept on increasing, and now it also has nose bleeds and urine bleeds sometimes. When these symptoms didn’t stop for a few days, his father decided to show him to a doctor in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, home to some of the best hospitals in Ethiopia.

Check : Cost of aplastic anemia treatment in India

Hospital visit in Addis

They showed up at one of the best hospitals in Ethiopia and consulted a physician. The doctor ordered some tests to be performed. While Mukhtar and his father waited for results, his symptoms kept on increasing. The doctor started preliminary treatment of the infection in order to control it. However, fate was not on the side of Mukhtar, results of the tests were not encouraging, and he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare disorder that originates from bone marrow and completely destroys it, leaving the patient prone to very frequent infections.
News of aplastic anemia came as a big shock to the entire family. The doctor also advised them to immediately go for the only curative treatment, which is a bone marrow stem cell transplant.

Family and friends of Mukhtar started inquiring about bone marrow stem cell treatment in Ethiopia, and to their shock, they learned that there is no hospital or specialist available in Ethiopia for bone marrow transplants. There are two kinds of BMT: autologous BMT and allogenic BMT. In autologous BMT, self-bone marrow is used, while in allogenic BMT, a donor bone marrow is used for the transplant. Mukhtar was clearly a case of an allogenic marrow transplant.

Mukhtar in India for stem cell transplant

Choosing India for stem cell transplant

Mukhtar started online search about bone marrow transplant in different countries. Rates differed in the US; a bone marrow transplant cost almost $5,000,000 USD, the same in Europe, it cost approximately $ 200,000 USD in Singapore, $ 150,000 in Turkey, and almost $75,000 USD. However, the cost of a bone marrow transplant in India was much lower than in these countries, it cost only $25,000–35,000 USD. Their obvious choice was  India.

stem cell transplant in India

For almost two decades, bone marrow transplants have been conducted in India. India is home to some of the best hospitals for bone marrow transplants in the world, with some of the best bone marrow transplant specialists.

Mukhtar for stem cell transplant in India

Cost of stem cell transplant in India

Allogenic fully matched stem cell transplant: $20,000–25,000 USD.
Allogenic half matched stem cell transplant: $ 29000–35,000 USD.
Allogenic independent registry: $55,000–65,000 USD.
Autologous stem cell transplant: $ 19000-22000 USD.

Check : Cost of bone marrow stem cell transplant in India

Best hospitals for bone marrow transplant in India

Here are the list of 10 best bone marrow transplant hospital in India –
1) BLK Super Specialty hospital, New Delhi
2) Artemis Hospital , Gurugram
3) Mazumdar Shaw cancer centre, Bangalore
4) Narayana Super specialty Hospital, Howrah
5) HCG Cancer Centre, Bangalore
6) HCG EKO Cancer Centre, Kolkata
7) American Oncology, Hyderabad
8) International Oncology, Noida
9) Dharamshila Cancer Hospital, Delhi
10) Medanta Medicity Hospital, Gurugram

Stem cell transplant in India

Contact with CancerFax

A friend of Mukhtar, who had already undergone heart surgery in India, suggested he contact CancerFax, an award winning medical tour operator considered one among the best medical tour operator in India.
CancerFax is known for:

  1. Team of some of the best consultants.
  2. There is a large network of hospitals and cities to choose from.
  3. Amazing care and help.
  4. End-to-end services.
  5. Online consultation and price estimate within 24 hours of report posting.
  6. Personalized treatment plan.
  7. Free airport pick up and drop-off services.
  8. Immediate consultation, no waiting time.
  9. Local help for guest houses, hotels, and local SIM cards.
  10. Medical visa help.

Within 24 hours of sending all the medical reports, Mukhtar had multiple hospital options for his bone marrow transplant. He chose the best hospital for bone marrow transplants in India. He was immediately issued a medical visa, and he was ready to fly to Delhi from Addis. At New Delhi airport, he was picked up by Sandeep, a CancerFax representative.

Nurse preparing for stem cell transplant in India

Mukhtar presented with a bleeding nose, bleeding urine, and infection across the body. He was feeling fatigued and has not taken any food since the last 3 days. He was immediately taken to the hospital, and after quick registration formalities, he was shifted to the ward. Treatment for Mukhtar has already begun.

Check : Cost of cancer treatment in India

Infection control

Mukhtar’s infections was controlled with standard medicines and he was feeling much better after 2 days of admission in the ward. When patient is presented with lot of infections, it is always advised to control all the infection first and then go for bone marrow transplant procedure. After 4 days of admission in the ward and infection control, Mukhtar was ready for bone marrow transplant.

Chemotherapy

few sessions of chemotherapy is given to the patient before bone marrow transplant, basically to kill the cancer or bad cells. This is done in order to ensure when fresh cells enter the body, there isn’t any bad cells to counter good cells.

Mukhtar with CancerFax founder Sandeep Wamne

Donor Cells

Fresh cells to Mukhtar was donated by his 8-year-old younger brother, Mas Felmeta. His blood was extracted so that stem cells can be taken from the blood.

Transplant

After extracting stem cells from Mas Felmeta blood, it were infused into the blood stream of Mukhtar and thus transplant was completed. Now we have to wait for engraftment to occur. Fortunately, Mukhtar got engrafted on the 8th day of transplant and on 20th day after transplant, he was ready to be discharged from the hospital.

The bone-marrow transplant was successful. Now Mukhtar is absolutely alright and hopefully will not have any infection.

As promised, we all went for site-seeing around Delhi.

Ongoing stem cell transplant in India

Mukhtar with Sandeep Wamne

Best doctors for stem cell transplant in India

Dr. Dharma Choudhary – BLK Bone Marrow Transplant Centre, New Delhi is arguably India’s leading doctor for bone marrow stem cell transplants, with more than 2000 successful transplants to his credit. He is known for his successful career as a top BMT surgeon, Dr. Choudhary’s expertise in Thalassemia Bone Marrow Transplant, Thalassemia Stem Cell Transplant. Dr. Dharma Choudhary is the pioneer in India for his work in Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplant for Thalassemia Major and Aplastic Anemia during his period at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital Delhi. Dr. Dharma Choudhary has made it to the list of top 10 Hematologists and Bone Marrow Transplant Specialist of this generation in India. Known for his High success rates in Bone Marrow Transplant, Dr. Dharma Choudhary is a lifelong member of the Indian Society of Hematology & Transfusion Medicine. He is also popular among international patients from different corners of the world mostly from Afghanistan, Iraq, Oman, Uzbekistan, Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma is a practicing Hematologist with 19 years of experience. He is located in New Delhi. Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma practices at the BLK Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi. The BLK Super Speciality Hospital is situated at 5, Radha Soami Satsang Rajendra Place, Pusa Road, New Delhi. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma is an esteemed member of Registered member Indian Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (ISHTM), Registered member of Delhi Medical Association (DMA)Registered member Indian Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (ISHTM), Registered member of Delhi Medical Association (DMA) and Member of Indian Society for Atherosclerosis Research (ISAR).
He pursued his MBBS in 1999 from University Of Delhi, Delhi. He completed his MD in 2006 from University Of Delhi, Delhi. He has also did his DM in 2012 from All India Institute Of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. Dr Sanjeev has been awarded with Best Citizen of India Award.

Dr. Revathi Raj is a Hematologist and Pediatrician in Apollo Hospital, Teynampet, Chennai and has an experience of 24 years in these fields. Dr. Revathi Raj practices at Apollo Speciality Cancer Hospital in Teynampet, Chennai and Apollo Children’s Hospitals in Thousand Lights, Chennai. She completed MBBS from Madras University, Chenai, India in 1991,Diploma in Child Health (DCH) from The Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University (TNMGRMU) in 1993 and FRC.PATH.(U.K.) from The Royal College of Pathologist in 2008. She is a member of Indian Medical Association (IMA). Some of the services provided by the doctor are: Eosinophilia Treatment,Neck Pain Treatment,Chelation Therapy,Biochemistry and Blood Transfusion etc. Dr Revathi is credited with one of the largest series in bone marrow transplants in the country. She has successfully treated hemophilia & sickle cell disease. She has specialist interest in blood disorders in children.

Dr. Sharat Damodar – Narayana Bone Marrow Transplant Centre, Bangalore Dr. Sharat Damodar completed his MBBS from St. Johns Medical College, Bangalore and later completed his MD from DNB college. He is currently serving as Vice President of Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre, Narayana Health City. He is a celebrated Oncologist who has performed more than 1000 Bone Marrow & Stem Cell Transplants and also won Chairman’s Award for Best Doctor in 2015. Dr. Sharat field of expertise is bone marrow & stem cell transplant, cord blood transplantation & lymphoma. Key procedures performed by Dr. Sharat Damodar are Bone marrow & stem cell transplant, cord blood transplantation, leukemia / lymphoma. Dr Sharat has performed more than 1000 successful bone marrow stem cell transplants in his career til date.

Dr. Ramaswamy N V at Aster Medcity, Kochi is a Hematologist with more than 18 years of experience, Dr. Ramaswamy is an expert in management of malignant and non-malignant diseases of the blood, in patients of all ages. His areas of special interest are hemato oncology and stem cell transplant. Dr. Ramaswamy is expert in bone marrow stem cell transplant, prostate cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, & blood related disorders. He is specially interested in immunosuppressive drugs, targeted therapy, hodgkins lymphoma, myeloma, lymphoma, strocytoma, osteosarcoma, stereotactic radiosurgery, blood cancer, leukemia, sickle-cell anemia, germ cell tumour (GCT), thalassemia, non hodgkin lymphoma, and all forms, type and stages of cancer.

Dr. Pawan Kumar Singh – Artemis, Gurugram, Delhi (NCR) is having experience of performing more than 300 bone marrow transplants (including Autologous/Allogenic/Haplo/MUD) for both malignant and non-malignant blood disorders including thalassemia and aplastic anaemia. Done successful Haplo BMT for SCID in an 8 months old child. Successfully done MFD BMT for HLH in a 2 yr old child. Individually set up BMT unit at Jaypee Hospital and made SOPs for each and every important steps for successfully running the BMT unit. Made BMT UNIT at Jaypee hospital the transplant centre for MUD transplant and got PBSC product from national (Datri) and international registry (DKMS). Performed 50 BMTs in last 18 months at Jaypee hospital (MSD/MFD-20; Haplo-6; Auto-2 and MUD-4).

Dr Joydeep Chakrabartty – Kolkata completed his MBBS from a renowned university in Calcutta and then went to the United Kingdom for his post graduate studies. He went on to obtain the MRCP (UK) and FRC PATH (UK), and FRCP (Glasgow) credentials during the course of his career. The latter being awarded for his role in leading and establishing services in Medicine. He has a special interest in the areas of Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT), especially mis-matched high end transplants for all conditions especially Acute Leukemias. He has worked in reputed institutes in the UK including St Bartholomews Hospital and in the prestigious Bone Marrow Transplant Fellowship at The Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospital, London.
Dr. Joydeep Chakrabartty has worked for many years in Medicine and in reputed Critical care units before taking up Hematology. He has encountered and managed not only all hematological emergencies and conditions but his previous general medicine and ICU exposure gives him the edge in managing very sick patients i.e. patients undergoing Bone Marrow Transplant, Acute Leukemia’s etc. He is also very competent in the laboratory diagnostic part of hematological diseases. Upon his return, Dr. Chakrabartty helped in the formation and successful running of many Bone Marrow Transplant departments across the country. Dr. Joydeep Chakrabartty has written many articles for leading journals and has also written chapters in text books.

Dr Radheshyam Naik at Bangalore is the pioneer in the field of Medical Oncology with more than 25 years of strong academic experience in his field. He received advanced training from the world’s leading institutions including M.D. Anderson Cancer Institute, USA, International School for Cancer Care, Oxford, UK, University of New South Wales,  Australia,  to name a few.
Regarded as an eminent oncologist and having experience of visiting renowned cancer hospitals around the world, Dr. Radheshyam has had an excellent academic career in managing all types of cancer and haematological disorders, with several peer-reviewed publications in leading journals.  He is pioneer in conducting various Drug trials conducted over 50 chemotherapy drugs in nationally and internationally trials.
He has special interest in Bone Marrow Transplant programme and also undergone advanced trainings at Hadassah University, Israel; Detroit medical center, The New York hospital USA , Cornell Medical center and at Harper Hospital, Michigan, USA.
Dr. Radheshyam has been a major contributor in developing the field of Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation in Karnataka.  He performed the first intra-arterial chemotherapy through port in Karnataka and also is credited for performing the first Bone Marrow Transplant in Karnataka.

Dr. Shrinath Kshirsagar is hematologist/ hemato-oncologist and bone marrow transplant physician based in Mumbai. He has over 8 years of experience in this field. He has completed his super-specialty training from prestigious Tata Medical Center. He was a part of team which did more than 200 bone marrow transplants over two years. He has many national and international publications. He was principle investigator in one of the clinical trial in the field of leukemia.Key procedures performed by Dr. Srinath are Bone marrow & stem cell transplant, cord blood transplantation, leukemia / lymphoma. Significant advances have been made in understanding the biology of Leukemia over the last few decades. This has translated to recognition of novel targets for therapy, novel therapeutic options and targeted therapy which have in turn significantly improved the clinical outcomes of patients with Leukemia. Dr. Shrinath Shirsagar is the well Experienced doctor for such advanced Leukemia and Lymphoma treatment in Mumbai. With the 8 years of experience He is specially interested in immunosuppressive drugs, targeted therapy, hodgkins lymphoma, myeloma, lymphoma, strocytoma, osteosarcoma, stereotactic radiosurgery, blood cancer, leukemia, sickle-cell anemia, germ cell tumour (GCT), thalassemia, non hodgkin lymphoma, and all forms, type and stages of cancer.

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