Doha, 10 November, 2019: An interdisciplinary team from Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) has successfully performed 53 autologous stem cell transplants since 2015 and 12 allogeneic blood stem cell transplants since 2017.
Dr. Javid Gaziev, Head of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at NCCCR, says the success of the transplant programs is an important milestone for HMC and the country and he notes that HMC’s Bone Marrow Transplant Program is comparable with some of the world’s leading programs in terms of success rates.
“An allogeneic stem cell transplant is a type of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) – often called a stem cell or hematopoietic (meaning ‘blood-forming’) stem cell transplantation – and is the treatment of choice for many blood diseases, both malignant and non-malignant,” explained Dr. Gaziev.
“A BMT is a highly effective therapy and often the only hope for a cure, or for extending the life of a patient with blood cancer. The procedure replaces disordered bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells and is used to eliminate cancer or defective stem cells and restore a patient's blood and immune systems,” added Dr. Gaziev.
Allogeneic stem cell transplantation involves the transfer of stem cells from a genetically similar healthy person (known as the donor), to a patient (known as the recipient) following high-intensity chemotherapy or radiation. It is used to eliminate cancer and restore a patient's blood and immune systems. An autologous transplant uses a person’s own stem cells.
Each of the 12 allogeneic transplant patients underwent a conditioning regimen that included intensive treatment with chemotherapy, or a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, to destroy as many disordered cells as possible. They also underwent a systematic evaluation to determine their eligibility for the stem cell transplant treatment.
Dr. Gaziev says a stem cell transplantation is a long and complicated process and that due to the time it takes to rebuild the immune system after a transplant, each patient requires several months of close expert monitoring to help prevent complications.
“Stem cell transplant therapy is a life-saving treatment for many patients with blood cancers and some inherited benign blood disorders, like sickle cell disease and thalassemia. Many years of specialized transplant expertise is required for these advanced therapies and a total of 65 transplants with excellent outcomes is a significant achievement. HMC is on par with other stem cell transplant centers across the world in terms of our success rates,” said Dr. Gaziev.
“Bone marrow transplantation is highly specialized medicine and is one of the great advances in care at NCCCR and HMC, as mandated by the National Cancer Strategy since 2011. Interdisciplinary expert teams of transplant physicians, transplant nurses, transfusion medicine, laboratory medicine, and stem cell processing laboratory professionals have invested years of developmental work to establish our cutting-edge blood and marrow stem cell transplant service,” added Dr. Gaziev.