Aashim Joy, a 32 year old Chennai based man living in New York was diagnosed with B cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, early last year. The medical fraternity has clearly stated that the only hope to cure this cancer is through a stem cell transplant.
However, it was intimated to Aashim that transplant is possible only if a matching HLA typing stem cell is found. When a patient is inflicted with blood cancer, they are subjected to chemotherapy and radiation, but these are not the end of it all. The patient is only salvaged completely, if the root of the problem is addressed and the affected cells are replaced. So the role of stem cells and its replacement property plays a vital role in the treatment of cancer. For infusion of stem cells the right match is needed and the ratio of cancer patients and the donors are heavily mismatched. Ethnicity and registry size are two major factors that play a vital role in finding a match. Many patients also die hopelessly in the tenure of finding a match either due to the disease or because of impact of chemotherapy.
The probability of finding a match is somewhere between 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 1 lac. The situation is all the more complex when ethnicity comes into play, making it a rarity for an Indian living overseas to spot a match of stem cells. Even though 30 million people are registered across the world and Indian should only look out for an Indian donor, due to the ethnic proclivity of stem cells.This situation has made Aashim seek a match amidst the Indian registries as well.
The inventory size of Indian registries is very small. The universal equation holds good, the bigger the inventory the larger the probability of finding a match. However, a caucasian would find 5-6 matches in the world market as the registries hold a database of more than 10 million caucasian people. If the transplants are done on time the prognosis is really good and the chances of a patient leading a healthy life is also magnified enormously. So,Aashim has now initiated a national wide drive in search of a matching stem cell for himself.
As far as an Indian patient’s fate is concerned, the hunt is still on its ugly trip, the wait for finding stem cells continues.As a breakthrough to this despair, LifeCell offers every parent a choice to join a community, where the bank already holds 3 lac cord blood units in its community. With this kind of a sea of cord blood units stored ready to be retrieved by any of the community members in need, parents who have preserved their baby’s stem cells with LifeCell,can be relaxed even during crisis.
To know more about community stem cell banking:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olnu-a_R-Wo&t=14s