Paediatric oncologist treating Yadhav reckons he has a good chance of survival with timely bone marrow transplant
Dubai: The distraught parents of a three-year old cancer patient are appealing for help with their little one’s chances of survival hinging on an urgent bone marrow transplant procedure.
Three-year old Yadhav Satheesh from India, currently under treatment at Dubai Hospital, was first diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when he was a year and ten months old. His mother Aleyamma Thomas, a lab technician at a Dubai hospital, was able to identify the symptoms given her own diagnostic training.
Thomas, 33, told Gulf News: “I could see my son was very listless and looked pale when he was a year old. Being aware of this disease, I got his blood tested and we found his haemoglobin to be only 4.3. Following that I got him screened for leukaemia and we were devastated with the positive report,” she recalled.
Their world came crashing down for Thomas and her husband, Satheesh Kumar, after the diagnosis and they promptly sought medical help for their child.
“We have an older daughter, Teertha, who is 8 years old now. My husband had a modest transport business which he gave up to nurse our son as I had a stable job and could not give it up. Luckily the cancer went into remission by the time he was a little over two years with chemotherapy and other treatments. However, Yadhav suffered a relapse as he turned three. I noticed the similar symptoms as I had seen before and a test confirmed our worst fears,” recalled the mother.
A paediatric oncologist treating Yadhav at Dubai Hospital told Gulf News that the little one had a good chance of survival with a bone marrow transplant. “Yadhav had a relapse but he responded very well to the chemotherapy cycles. Currently his cancer is in remission and, if the bone marrow transplant happens now, he has about 70 per cent chances of survival.”
The doctor explained that the Yadhav’s father, who has a partial match with the boy’s bone marrow, could be the donor for a transplant procedure. “Haplo-identical or partially matching bone marrow transplants have had a fair success rate and the child has a good chance of beating this cancer if he goes for this bone marrow transplant,” added the oncologist.
Haplo-identical transplant is carried out with the father’s bone marrow. This is a relatively new procedure that enables a transplant to be carried out using a half-matched marrow transplant. Rather than wiping out a patient’s immune system before transplanting donor bone marrow, doctors administer just enough chemotherapy to suppress the immune system, which keeps patients from rejecting the donated marrow without harming their organs.
Thomas added that they were already in advanced stages of consultation with an Indian hospital that specialised in haplo-identical bone marrow transplants. “My son is currently undergoing chemotherapy at Dubai Hospital and I have taken long leave from my job. We have contacted Narayan Hrudyalaya in Benglauru, India, and they have agreed to conduct a haplo-identical bone marrow [transplant] using my husband’s bone marrow.”
The hospital has had a decent success rate conducting haplo-identical bone marrow transplants and the couple is putting all hope on the surgery, which has been fixed for the third week of September. The couple will be leaving for India for the surgery on September 10. The cost of the surgery is approximately 50 million Indian rupees (Dh250,000 approximately). The couple are struggling to raise the entire amount on their own. They have managed to raise 33 million rupees (Dh180,00,000) and they require help to raise an additional Dh70,000.
“My son has not even begun going to play school as he has been so sick throughout the year. I am hoping and praying this bone marrow transplant will give him another chance at life,” said a tearful Thomas.