Amrita Institute Develops Treatment for Acute Blood Cancer

The Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) in Kerala has carried out a new treatment protocol to treat a 19-year-old girl suffering from acute blood cancer or acute myeloid leukaemia, which seemed to be successful.

The treatment protocol is called ‘Microtransplant’, which involves normal chemotherapy followed by infusion of intentionally mismatched cells. The unique procedure is based on immunological killing of leukemic cells.

A team of specialists led by Neeraj Sidharth, head of bone and marrow transplant programme at AIMS, started this treatment after the girl’s disease slipped into a life-threatening stage even after two cycles of chemotherapy.

The unique procedure is based on immunological killing of leukemic cells. However, the result was a success, according to the AIMS.

“Worldwide cellular therapy has been done in a more sophisticated and costly manner in select centres at North America. What we attempted was similar to what has been already tried in Israel and China and published in reputed scientific journals,” said Sidharth, who was guided by experts in the field from Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, US, and from China.

Unlike normal treatment for acute blood cancer, this procedure does not require heavy dose of chemotherapy, followed by infusion of matched stem cells to replace the patient’s stem cells.

Microtransplant is cost effective – one fifth of the cost of standard treatment available and the patient needs to be hospitalised for just three weeks.

Chances of disease relapsing seem to be significantly lesser compared to standard chemotherapy extrapolating from the long term published data available from China.

“The success of the treatment is a major breakthrough and opens up a window of opportunity for those select patients with relapsed and refractory leukaemia,” Sidharth added.

(With inputs from IANS)


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