Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 7, 2007

Hope for leukaemia patients

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:01 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: Leukaemia patients can find hope in a newly introduced technology that can accurately evaluate the progress of transplanted donor cells in a recipient’s body.
Previously, when a bone marrow transplant was carried out, it could not be accurately or immediately gauged if the recipient was reacting positively to the donor cells.
Now with the bone marrow transplant bio-analyser, doctors can quickly quantify the presence of donor blood cells.
University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) paediatric haematology-oncology unit academic, Assoc Prof Hany Ariffin, said usually, failure would only be known if a relapse occurred which meant the transplant was wasted.
“As the cost of a transplant is about RM150,000 for one patient, it is necessary to make sure intervention can take place early should anything go wrong so that money is not wasted and lives are saved,” she said.
Prof Hany said with the aid of the bio-analyser machine, such leukaemia patients could be assured of better chances of success.
The good news is that the Lion’s Club Petaling Jaya and the Sin Chew Foundation have sponsored a bio-analyser machine, costing RM90,000.
The money was initially to be used to treat an 18-year-old leukaemia patient, who before dying 10 years ago asked the foundation to use the money to help another leukaemia patient.
Wong Kim Yau, 17, who suffers from acute leukaemia, is among those who have benefited from the technology.
“Because of the machine, we were able to detect early that Wong’s initial transplant had failed and took the necessary steps to prevent a relapse,” she said.

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