Kolar: Sam, a 10-year-boy from Kolar, Karnataka, was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, a condition in which the bone marrow is unable to produce mature red blood cells, platelets or white blood cells. It leads to severe case of anaemia. Due to fatal condition of the case, the boy required a bone marrow transplant. No match was found in the registered 3 lakh donors in India and thus doctors at Narayana Health in Bengaluru began their search internationally.

The match was found in German donor registry and the donor was willing to donate the bone marrow. Donors are usually asked to give peripheral blood stem cells. The doctors had anticipated a low survival chance for the child if the transplant was not done. Usually the treatment given for aplastic anaemia is supportive care that includes frequent blood transfusions.            

Sharat Damodar, clinical director at Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre and Head, Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Narayana Health, said that an individual hand carried the bone marrow to India when the match was confirmed. He said that all the protocols that were required were followed aptly when the bone marrow was brought to India. The procedure was conducted in October. Sam is currently doing well and has returned to daily life.

Damodar further commented that India lacks a proper maintenance for bone marrow registry (BMT) considering the population and that there is a lag in the system. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing is an expensive method that is used for identifying bone marrow transplant.