4-yr-old cured of Thalassemia major with stem cell transplant

Isha Gohel from Saurastra, who was diagnosed of suffering from advanced stages of Thalassemia, had started receiving blood transfusions at the age of 18 months.

When she was brought to Apollo hospital in Ahmedabad, doctors after investigations found that she was a case of class 3 Thalassemia Major.

Since she did not get good quality blood transfusion, her condition was very poor. She had developed marked enlargement of the spleen leading to further poor response to blood transfusions.

Terming Isha's case as challenging, Dr Chirag A Shah, haematologist, Apollo hospital here, said that they followed the style of treatment of Dr G Lucarelli from the Mediterranean Institute of Haematology -- an international centre for transplantation in thalassemia and Sickle Cell Anaemia -- in Italy who has successfully treated advanced cases of thalassemia.

Her spleen was removed and stems cells from Isha's two-year-old brother were transplanted. "We followed his (Lucarelli's) formulae for treatment of Isha and we were successful," he said.

"Stemcell transplant in advanced cases of thalassemia results in poor outcome. Such patients are not advised a transplant as they frequently have poor results and have high risk of complications," Shah said.

He said that Isha's case was difficult for them as her spleen had blown out of proportion and her liver too was damaged due to iron deposits.

Giving details of her treatment, he said, "We first surgically removed her spleen in January and the following month we started on a special protocol of medicines to reduce her risk of being Class 3. This continued for over one month until finally she underwent stem cell transplant procedure in April. The stem cells were from her younger brother."

Isha is now on the road to recovery and and will be transfusion free forever as her underlying Thalassemia major is now cured after stem cell transplant. PTI SWT RT

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