August 13, 2022

“Thank You For Giving My Daughter A New Lease of Life”

Staff Reporter –

With LifeCell’s Community Cord Blood banking initiative making cord blood transplants affordable and more accessible in India, the nation today witnessed the first-of-its-kind celebration of a 9-year-old survivor of Aplastic Anemia. In a heart-warming event filled with emotions of joy, gratitude and hope, Miss. Batul Huzefa Bohari who underwent the dual unit cord blood transplant procedure met and interacted with the donor families of Miss. Divsha Agarwal (aged 4) from Hyderabad, and Master. Advik Aggarwal (aged 5) from Delhi, in the presence of the doctors and the management of LifeCell International.

On 15th October 2020, a team of senior doctors led by Dr. Pritesh Junagade from LOTUS Institute of Haematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Nashik, Maharashtra conducted this unique dual cord blood transplant to save the life of Miss. Batul from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. This transplant was particularly challenging because there were no appropriate bone marrow donors and the cost of retrieval of matching units from public cord blood banks would have been quite high. As members of LifeCell Community Bank, the parents placed a matching request for two cord blood units after Batul’s sibling was found to be only a 50% (4/8) HLA match. Two high-quality matches (7/8) were found in the LifeCell Registry, which fulfilled the requirement for Umbilical Cord Blood (UCB) transplantation. Importantly, the parents could withdraw these matched units at no additional expense, which otherwise would cost not less than INR 45,00,000/unit, according to a 2011 study analysing the cost of UCB transplantation in India.

Thanking the donors, Mr Huzefa Bohari, father of Miss. Batul Bohari, said “We are very happy to see our child back to her normal routine, as cheerful as ever. It is heartening to see her engaging in the activities that she dearly loves, be it painting or drawing. We are forever thankful to the donors, Dr. Pritesh Junagade, and LifeCell for presenting our daughter with an opportunity for a fresh new lease of life. Our second child’s cord blood is now preserved through their Community Cord Blood Banking initiative, and if the situation arises, we shall surely step up and extend our full support to the needy.

Mr. Mayur Abhaya, Managing Director, LifeCell International said “I am very pleased to see the meaningful impact our Community Cord Blood banking is creating in the society. It was lovely to see these three children playing together, and I thank the donor families and the Doctors for making this possible. We are committed to make cord blood transplants more and more affordable and quickly accessible for the people in the country, thus strengthening the protection shield for a healthy future

Dr. Pritesh Junagade, Director of LOTUS Hospital, saidIn most of the blood-related disorders treatable by transplants, the patients’ own stem cells are not suitable. Hence, the best donor is a close family member, usually a sibling. However, in this particular case, there was only a 50% match with the sibling and that’s why a high-quality match from an unrelated donor was crucial for a successful transplant. Luckily, since the family was a part of LifeCell’s Community Banking program, they could gain quick, free access to the huge inventory.

Introduced in 2017, LifeCell’s Community Cord Blood Banking is a unique initiative, which allows sharing of preserved umbilical cord blood stem cells from a common pool amongst the members of the community. The model offers greater and easier access to donor stem cells, unlimited retrievals at the cost of one enrolment, and a higher probability for finding a close match for potentially life-saving treatments. Community banking, thus, ensures complete protection to the child, siblings, parents, and grandparents from more than 80 blood disorders treatable by stem cells.

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