Apollo performs first TMI in India on 36-year-old woman

Apollo Proton Cancer Centre team with Fathima, the 36-year-old nurse from Oman, in Chennai on Wednesday. DH Photo

36-year-old Fathima, a staff nurse at a hospital in Oman, lost all hopes of surviving after she was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) with mixed phenotypic acute leukaemia in February.

The mother of two underwent numerous tests but doctors in Oman said that the only way to cure is to perform Total Marrow Irradiation (TMI) as a conditioning protocol prior to Bone Marrow Transplant.

Today, Fathima is a confident woman having recovered from her ailment and ready to fly back home from Chennai following the TMI conducted by a team of doctors at the newly launched Apollo Proton Cancer Centre (APCC).

The nurse was flown to Chennai in the first week of April and was operated upon between April 18 and 20.

This was the first TMI performed in India.

“God gifted me the disease and the same god has given me a new life. These four months have taught me what life is. I am extremely happy and thankful to doctors at the Apollo Proton Cancer Centre for the treatment. I can’t express my happiness,” she told a press conference here.

After diagnosing Fathima with CML, doctors at the Royal Hospital, Oman, decided to shift her to Apollo in Chennai for the specialised treatment. APCC launched in January this year is South East Asia’s first proton therapy facility that offers advanced cancer care treatment.

Fathima underwent two chemotherapy cycles at Oman and doctors at the APCC proceeded with TMI based conditioning for the transplant. She underwent peripheral blood stem cell transplantation on April 23.

“This is a great achievement by any centre which is just months old. We thank the Royal Hospital in Oman for sending this young woman to APCC for specialised treatment. We hope to achieve more such milestones,” Apollo Hospitals Chairman Prathap C Reddy said.

The bone marrow transplant was done after Fathima’s brother turned out to be a full-matched donor.

Dr Srinivas Chilukuri said that the advantage of TMI over Total Body Irradiation is that only the bone marrow is irradiated and the normal organs like eyes and heart are spared. “So a higher dose can be delivered to the bone marrow sparing other organs which would minimise side-effects,” he said.

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