SUM becomes first in Odisha to conduct SCT using cryopreservation on lymphoma patient


Bhubaneswar, May 17: For the first time in Odisha, Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, faculty of medicine of SOA Deemed to be University here, has successfully undertaken autologous stem cell transplantation on a Lymphoma patient.

The challenging procedure, often referred to as Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT), was taken up on a 33-year-old patient suffering from Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, recently by following the cryopreservation process, said Prof. Priyanka Samal, Professor and Head of the department of Clinical Hematology and Hemato Oncology in the hospital, here on Monday.

IMS and SUM Hospital is also the first hospital in the State to have undertaken Stem Cell Transplantation. Though the procedure was being done in the hospital since 2018, it was for the first time that stem cell transplantation was attempted on a Lymphoma patient, she said.

Prof. Samal said IMS and SUM Hospital had conducted 25 stem cell transplantations on patients with hematological malignancies like myeloma and leukemia within the last 18 months though the pandemic virtually stalled all activities for several months. All the persons who had undergone the treatment were doing well till now.

“The transplant team followed the cryopreservation methodology with constant Quality Check monitoring—a procedure in which cells and tissues were preserved for future use at a very low temperature of minus 80 degrees C. The cells, which generally have two to three days viability, can be preserved for several months through this process,” she said.

Explaining the procedure, Prof. Samal said Stem Cell Transplantation required no surgery. “Stem cells are predominantly present in the bone marrow constantly dividing and maturing into various types of blood cells replacing the old and worn out cells in the body. Serious health problems like blood cancer arise when the function of stem cells goes awry,” she said.

“Presently, we have drugs which mobilize these cells from the bone marrow to the peripheral blood and the process is called stem cell mobilization. These healthy stem cells are collected from the donor or the patient following mobilization,” Prof. Samal said.

Then high dose chemotherapy is administered to the patient as a conditioning regime to destroy the existing bone marrow cells and create space for receiving the stem cells and accommodating its differentiated healthy mature cells.

After five to ten days of intensive chemotherapy, stem cells collected from the healthy patient or donor are infused into the body of the patient. When the patient’s own harvested stem cells are infused, it is known as autologous stem cell transplantation while in allogeneic transplantation, stem cells are received from a donor, Prof. Samal said.

Stem cell transplantation is preceded by chemotherapy for about four to six months to ensure that the patient has minimal measurable cancer cells. The procedure is mostly done to ensure that the disease does not relapse, Prof. Samal said, “We wish to provide the benefit to all transplant eligible patients.”

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