Materia Medica Malaysiana

January 19, 2007

New lease of life for cancer boy

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:36 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Teenage leukaemia patient Wong Kim Yau can now breathe a sigh of relief after successfully undergoing a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor, thanks in large to public donations.
Haematologist Dr Gan Gin Gin who headed the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) team, said the teenager was responding positively following the operation last November and was being kept under observation.
Seventeen-year-old Kim Yau’s plight was highlighted in the newspapers in the middle of last year after a matching non-related donor backed out at the last minute when a medium advised her against it.
Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia since 2005, Kim Yau was in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant and needed money to find a donor and have the operation as soon as possible.
His father is an odd-job worker and his mother a housewife.
Donations totalling some RM200,000 poured in from all walks of life especially through a special fund set up by the MCA Public Service and Complaints Department and Sin Chew Daily.
UMMC director Dr Ikram Shah Ismail said this was the first time the hospital had conducted an adult “stem cell” transplant involving a non-related donor, which is an uncommon occurrence.
“Normally, the donor will be related to the patient, as there is a higher chance of finding a match. But in this case, there was no suitable family donor and luckily, there was a match from an unrelated donor,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
The unrelated donor was identified through Singapore’s Bone Marrow Donor Programme after a search for an unrelated local donor proved futile.
Dr Gan said it was difficult to find an unrelated donor locally although there was a government donor registry as not many people were aware of it or had misconceptions about it.
Also present was MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong, who thanked all donors who helped make a difference and for saving Kim Yau’s life.
“Having such an operation done in a local hospital goes to show that Malaysians need not go overseas to do it as it can be done here,” he said.
The cost for the operation at UMMC was about RM70,000.
Chong said what was left in the fund would be channelled to help other patients.

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