Kolkata, Mar 6: A four year-old boy suffering from thalassaemia, an inherited blood disorder, as recovered after being injected with his sister’s cord blood, raising hopes for the treatment mode using stem-cell transplant.
Due to the disease, the white blood cell count of Dikshit Gowda, hailing from Bangalore, has dropped to zero. He was admitted to the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research nstitute here on February seven.
“Initially, the bone marrow of Gowda was destroyed when he was treated for 15 days using high dose of chemotherapy,” its Director Ashis Mukherjee said.
“Thereafter, stem cells taken from his little sister’s cord blood, preserved at the Cryo Stem Cell Institute in Bangalore, were injected into him on February 28,” he said.
“He is doing well now though he will be kept under observation for at least a month,” Mukherjee said.
“This is the first stem-cell transplant in eastern India and it will be first of its kind in the country using mismatch cord blood,” he said.
Mukherjee said the boy’s white blood cell count was now rising and he could be released in six weeks “if everything goes well. It gives us hope that the treatment mode was successful.”
The patient, being kept in a highly sanitized cabin, was under close observation to ensure that there was no infection.
To a question, Mukherjee said that the patient’s blood group would change from ‘A positive’ to ‘O positive’ and that his chromosomes would also undergo transformation to ‘xx’ (female).
“There is likelihood that the boy may show female characteristics because of the change,” he added.
“So far the child has shown all positive developments and we are hopeful of successful recovery from thalassaemia,” the institute director said.
There are nearly 50,000 thalassaemics cases in the state, of which Kolkata alone accounts for 12,000 to 14,000, he said.