A hopeful patient holding a red ribbon, symbolizing support for Sickle Cell Disease awareness and stem cell transplants.
Digital Health News

India Battles Sickle Cell Disease: The Quest for Stem Cell Transplants

In the medical world, Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is synonymous with daunting challenges, especially in India. With the nation ranking second globally in terms of SCD prevalence, the disease impacts over 20 million individuals. Stem cell transplants present a glimmer of hope, but their accessibility remains a concern.

A stark reality is that 50-80% of children afflicted with SCD in India fail to reach the age of five. SCD attributes to a plethora of complications such as anemia, chronic pain, organ damage, and susceptibility to infections, all owing to the rigid sickle-shaped blood cells blocking blood vessels.

The rarity of stem cell donors, coupled with limited specialized facilities and lack of awareness, severely hampers the battle against SCD.

Stem cell transplants involve the replacement of the patient’s bone marrow with healthy bone marrow from a compatible donor. The treatment promises a cure for SCD, relieving symptoms such as pain, infections, and organ damage. However, as Dr. Santanu Sen from Kokilaben Hospital, Mumbai points out, the procedure necessitates specialized infrastructure, skilled staff, and scrupulous post-transplant care.

The efforts of organizations like DKMS BMST Foundation India are invaluable in this context. Having registered over 80,000 stem cell donors and enabled 90 transplants since 2019, DKMS BMST Foundation India exemplifies the immense potential of stem cell donation.

On World Sickle Cell Day, the collective emphasis is on raising awareness, advocating for increased facilities, and fostering collaborations among stakeholders to augment care for SCD patients in India. It’s a clarion call for individuals to rally against SCD by enlisting as potential stem cell donors.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *