Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical science (IGIMS) in Bihar, becomes the first govt hospital in India to do a stem cell transplant for a patient. A patient named Bijay Kumar diagnosed with Multiple myeloma at the age of 54, was the first patient to be treated with a successful stem cell transplant at IGIMS.

This stem cell transplant was done in July this year. The treatment commenced as the patient was infused with stem cells and monitored for the next 10 days. All to everyone’s surprise the patients recovered completely, after this period.

The entire procedure was initiated by oncologist Dr. Avinash Pandey, an assistant professor at the Tata Memorial Hospitals & All India Institute of Medicine Sciences. The complete procedure was very diligently done with utmost coordination received from other departments such as microbiology, transfusion medicine and anaesthetic department.

For this patient Bijay Kumar, this therapy was monetarily absolutely out of reach because the entire therapy costed around Rs. 5 Lakhs. Fortunately the state govt heard his appeal and bore all the expenses for the transplant.

Nearly 3.5 lakhs was spent for the transfusion and the rest will be used for the drugs and subsequent follow up treatment of the patient. The transfusion was followed by a high dose of antibiotics for the next 6 months to put the relapse consequences at bay. A Carefully, designed drug protocol was also handed to the patient for added safety and speedy recovery.

If done at any private hospital the entire procedure would have costed around Rs.12-14 lakhs. For Multiple Myeloma a high dose of chemotherapy is given to destroy all the cancerous cells. Then, healthy stem cells are infused into the patient’s bone marrow and allowed to engraft.

Seeing the success of Bijay Kumar, Director N.R.Biwas of IGIMS said they were keen to conduct more such transplants at their hospitals. Already 6 more patients are lined up and are ready to receive the procedure shortly.

With stem cell transplants having become a common procedure to be offered at govt hospitals, we understand that stem cells is the absolute future of medicine. So, taking an informed decision of banking your baby’s stem cells during birth is a real promising move.