Everything About Bone Marrow Transplant


HOUSTON: IACAN aims at educating the Indian community on prevention of cancer, various treatment modalities of cancer and the resources available in the community. One such educational event, “Everything you want to know about Bone Marrow Transplant” was presented on Sunday, June 26 at the India House.

Dr. Uday Popat, Professor, Department of Stem cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy,
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center gave a very informative talk about bone marrow transplantation. Patients suffering from Acute Leukemia, Chronic leukemia, MDS,

Lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, Multiple Myeloma, Aplastic anemia, Thalassemia can be helped with the bone marrow transplantation. Depending on the source of the stem cells, there are different kinds of transplantations: Bone marrow transplantation, Stem cell transplantation, Cord blood transplantation, Haploidentical stem cell transplantation, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

The donor and the recipient are matched for the six major Human Leucocyte antigens and since a total of 10,000 leucocyte antigens are involved in the transplantation, the closer the match between the donor and the recipient, the better the chance of acceptance by the recipient.

The selection of donors is a lengthy and time consuming process. It is very difficult to find a matching donor. Family members, especially siblings stand a better chance to be the best match.

The donors are given medication to increase the productivity and mobilization of stem cells and the stem cells are harvested and used for infusion. The patient is first treated with high dose of radiation and or chemotherapy to suppress the immune system and then the donor’s stem cells are infused and the normal donor stem cells within the recipient body produce healthy blood cells so patient can recover. The success of transplantation depends on the severity of graft versus host and host versus graft reactions and great care and attention is given to minimize these reactions.

At times, the patient’s own stem cells are harvested before the chemo or radiation therapy and the harvested stem cells are infused back. This procedure avoids the graft versus host reaction but has the risk of introducing the cancer cells back into the patient.  Dr. Popat assured the audience that the donors do not have side effects other than some discomfort that lasts for a day or two.

Dr. Popat presented this complicated topic in such a language, that it was easy for everyone to understand it.  IACAN board members would like to thank Dr. Popat for his kindness.

The next speaker Gayatri Kapoor, Donor Contact Representative, gave an eloquent talk about how the donors are registered. Any healthy person from the age of 18 to 44 can register. The registration process involves filling out a simple application and giving a tissue sample from the mouth using a cotton swab. Since finding a match is rare, the more people are registered, the better the chance for finding a match. She said that registering people is hard but the major hurdle is convincing them to go through marrow donation once they have been chosen as a donor. IACAN is working hard to register the people in our community. IACAN members visit various religious organizations to recruit people for bone marrow donation.

The third speaker was Bhakta, a dedicated father of a child who got a bone marrow donation and is doing great. Because of a kind, humanitarian donor, the child is able to enjoy all the things a young boy would in his life. His story touched everyone and inspired us to do more for this worthy cause. The question and answer session went well.

IACAN requests all our community members to come forward to register for bone marrow donation and thus save a life.

For further information contact IACAN at Iacannetwork@gmail.com, or visit www.Iacannetwork.org, Phone: 713 370 3489