Bone Marrow Transplant in India
Bone marrow transplant is a complicated procedure, which is performed by doctors with an immense care and precaution. Bone marrow is a spongy tissue, which is present inside the breastbone or bones in the skull, ribs, spine and hips.
This spongy tissue comprises of stem cells that help produce three types of blood cells in the human body. These include red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes, help to carry oxygen in the blood and eliminate waste from it, while white blood cells, known as leukocytes, help to fight infection. Platelets, on the other hand, enable blood to clot.
Bone marrow transplant is a special medical procedure and a medical speciality of oncology and haematology. This procedure helps provide a new lease of life to patients suffering from life-threatening conditions, including leukemia or multiple myeloma.
When it comes to seeking the best bone marrow transplant treatment, India is one of the most trusted destinations. The country boasts of stringent infection control regulations, experienced surgeons, multi-facilitated hospitals and advanced treatment facilities.
Today, India has three most popular bone marrow registries, based in Chennai, and another in Delhi. The available procedures for bone marrow transplant in India include autologous transplant and allogenic Transplant.
In 2005, an extensive study was conducted from six different and most renowned transplant centres in India. The study revealed that an approximate 1,540 transplants were conducted successfully in India having a population of over a billion.
India has a vision of ensuring affordable bone marrow transplant cost for the countrymen and foreign nationals travelling here to seek treatment as well. Today, the Bangalore City takes an immense pride in having the largest bone marrow transplant facility in the country.
Patients from other countries such as Sri Lanka, Oman, Nepal, Myanmar, Kurdistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, US, UK and other countries travel to India every year because of world-class and unparalleled services related to bone marrow transplant in India.
What is the Cost of Bone Marrow Transplant in India?
The cost of bone marrow transplant in India is extremely lower than what it is in the Western countries. This is despite the fact that the quality of medical services in India is at par with any of the leading hospitals around the world, including those in the US, UK and UAE.
However, the total cost of bone marrow transplant in India depends upon several factors, including the type of procedure used for the treatment, medical condition of the patient, place of treatment and facilities included in the package.
Bone marrow transplant cost in India starts at as low as US 24000, but this rate varies with several factors. For every transplant case, an allocated case manager is appointed who takes personalised interest in designing the treatment plan for every patient and the bone marrow transplant cost package.
The cost of bone marrow transplant in India also differs based on the type of the hospital and the city where it is located. Every hospital has its own examination and test facilities, infrastructure, support and surgeon fees that eventually add to the total transplant cost.
Many big hospitals in India charge between US $24,000 and $40,000, while this cost may be 20 to 30 percent lower in other hospitals. As for international patients, bone marrow transplant cost in India could be a little more because of lodging, travelling and support expenses, but still, the overall cost is much cheaper than in the UK, US and other medically advanced countries.
In the Western countries, bone marrow transplant cost ranges from US $100,000 to $200,000, which is quite expensive as compared to India.
Autogenic stem cell transplant cost in India ranges from US$ 24,000 to $30,000, while allogenic bone marrow transplant in India is priced between US$30,000 and $46,000. Do note that this price is subject to change depending upon the type of hospital and the choice of city.
Bone Marrow Transplant Hospitals in India
India hosts over 200 top-notch bone marrow transplant hospitals across the major cities such as New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Gurgaon and Goa. These hospitals have the best trained and experienced doctors, surgeons and nurses who are dedicated to providing personalised care and specialized services to bone marrow transplant patients.
Every doctor and nurse are trained in performing all types of procedures, include chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant and radiation therapy with a great expertise. While choosing the best bone marrow transplant hospital in India, it is advised to evaluate several factors such as the latest technology, the experience of the doctor, the strength of hospital infrastructure and its expertise in patient care.
Foreign patients come to the best bone marrow transplant hospitals in India because of their appropriate location, reasonable cost and reliable services. Each bone marrow transplant hospital in India is adequately equipped with facilities for treatment of all kinds of diseases that require stem cell transplant, including thalassemia and lymphoma.
Delhi has over 30 reputed bone marrow treatment hospitals, Mumbai boasts of 30 most renowned cancer hospitals, Gurgaon has over 15 good multispeciality hospitals, Chennai has more than 24 super-speciality hospitals and IT city Bangalore has 25 hospitals.
The donor is required to stay a night at the hospitals to complete bone marrow transplant procedure. Once the stems are collected, they are sent to the laboratory for harvesting. Then, blood transfusion is performed on the body of the recipient with the help of an injection.
Remember, every cancer hospital and super-speciality unit evaluates the health condition of the patient and whether he or she is capable of tolerating certain medications before the transplant procedure and after it. If everything is fine, the patient is given a go ahead to undergo the transplant procedure.
Best Bone Marrow Transplant Hospitals
Some of the best hospitals for Bone Marrow Transplant in India include the following:
What happens during bone marrow transplant?
Bone marrow is a soft tissue present inside the bones that produce WBCs, RBCs and platelets. If the stem cells fail to produce normal and healthy blood cells, then doctors recommend bone marrow transplant for replacing diseased bone marrow with a healthy one. This new stem cell is taken from a donor and implanted in the recipient’s body that further helps to produce healthy blood cells.
Sometimes for the treatment of certain cancers, the bone marrow is taken from the body of the patient itself before transplanting it back into their bodies. In the middle of the two procedures, the patient is made to undergo radiation treatment and chemotherapy, which end up destroying the healthy bone marrow. The bone marrows retrieved from the body of the patient before radiation and chemo is then transplanted.
Best Candidates for Bone Marrow Transplant
The best candidates for bone marrow transplant include individuals who are suffering from diseases certain forms of blood cancer such as myelodysplasia, leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, thalassemia, severe immunodeficiency syndrome, aplastic anemia, low blood cells counts, immature blood cells, excessive production of immature blood cells, sickle cell anemia and congenital neutropenia.
The cancer patients may require stem cell transplant if their bone marrow gets damaged by radiation or chemotherapy. The only treatment for this medical condition is radiation or chemotherapy. The chemotherapy and radiation treatment procedure helps to destroy abnormal blood cells and abnormal stem cells.
However, in the process, the normal cells are also destroyed. At the same time, aggressive chemotherapy can even damage healthy bone marrow. Only a bone marrow transplant can help save the patient by replacing the destroyed bone marrow.
Types of Bone Marrow Transplant
The following are the two types of bone marrow transplant:
- Autologous Transplant: In this type, the hematopoetic cells procured from the body of the patient is kept in a deep freezer before high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy is initiated for cancer treatment. Once the therapies are administered, the cancer cells are destroyed and in the process, normal cells are badly affected. After the therapies are over, the stored hematopoetic cells that were kept in the freezer are transplanted again into the patient’s body.
- Allogenic Transplant: This type of bone marrow transplant involves extracting the donor’s bone marrow, also called peripheral stem cells. This bone marrow is matched genetically and may or may not relate to you. Doctors may follow syngeneic bone marrow transplant that includes receiving peripheral stem cells and bone marrow of identical twins.
Who can donate bone marrow?
When a patient suffers from diseased or damaged bone marrow that is unable to produce good and healthy blood cells, he or she needs the stem cells derived from a donor for transplant. A person is eligible to become a BMT donor if his or her tissues closely match with that of the patient’s tissues.
Generally, a matching donor is from the immediate family, a child, a sister or brother or a parent. However, if a person is lucky then he or she can get the best match in a volunteer too. A cent percent match is not necessary, but the close match with a positive outcome is indispensable.
Another source of BMT cells is from the placenta and umbilical cord of a newborn. If these cells are collected from the baby and then frozen in a stem cell bank, they can be successfully used later for bone marrow transplant. This type of transplant is clinically termed cord blood transplant.
Benefits of Getting Stem Cell Transplant
- Ensures a healthier and longer life
- Production of healthy and normal blood cells
- Increased blood count
- New blood cells are sometimes capable of killing cancer cells
- Stem cell transplant procedure helps with the treatment of diseases such as sickle cell anaemia and cancer
Precaution to be taken before and after bone marrow transplant
The precautions to be taken before and after bone marrow transplant should be followed comprehensively. Prior to getting approval for bone marrow transplant, the patient has to undergo pre-transplant evaluation.
The evaluation procedure involves consultation and discussion with members of the BMT team. Then, a series of tests is performed to assess if the patient is eligible for getting a transplant. Once you have been approved as a good candidate for bone marrow transplant, a BMT date is fixed and insurance clearance process begins.
Post bone marrow transplant, the patient suffers from very low immune system for two to four weeks, which makes him or her susceptible to infections. Hence, the patient is put under observation and is persistently and religiously administered medications and antibiotics. The idea is to protect the patient from fungal and viral infections.
After the first one month, the graft implanted settles and produces blood cells in the bone marrow, thus improving the host’s condition. Once the graft takes hold of the recipient, drugs that were given to suppress immunity are withdrawn. Sometimes, many patients require re-immunization, which is possible through vaccines.
Bone Marrow Transplant Recovery
Autologous bone marrow transplant recovery time is usually one month, while allogeneic bone marrow transplant recovery time is at least three months. Blood count usually starts to improve only after 10 to 20 days after the transplant. In the process, the patient is continuously monitored so as to keep infections at bay. When the blood count rises, the patient’s medical condition shows better signs of improvement.
Complications of Bone Marrow Transplant
Some of the complications of bone marrow transplant include bleeding, infection, liver disease and graft-versus-host disease. The pain from the complications arising out of the transplant is controlled by medication. In addition to these, mouth sores may develop making swallowing and chewing uncomfortable. Sometimes, temporary mental confusion is another major sign of complications after bone marrow transplant.
Life After Bone Marrow Transplant
Life can be both worrisome and exhilarating post bone marrow transplant. Patients have to visit doctors often to be closely monitored. However, a bone marrow transplant is, indeed, a blessing after being close to death. Life can drastically improve after the transplant.