Success of first stem cell transplant highlighted

Doctors form the HCM City-based Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion have successfully conducted the country’s first ever haploidentical stem cell transplant procedure.

The patient was 21 year-old Cao Xuan Hiep, of southern Dong Nai province.

Hiep was taken to the hospital with symptoms of exhaustion, high fever and anemia in early April, said Phu Chi Dung, Director of the hospital.

After tests, the doctors diagnosed Hiep with acute myeloid leukemia – a cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells.

His older sister, Cao Thi Nguyet, who half-matches his human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type, made a stem cells donation to the patient.

HLAs are proteins found on most cells in the human body.

According to Dung, the doctors preserved Nguyet’s donated stem cells and preserved them in a chamber at minus 196 degrees Celsius for 20 days.

The haploidentical stem cells transplant for Hiep was performed on April 25, he said.

Hiep left the hospital on May 24, about 28 days after his transplant, when his health had been recovered.

The transplant is performed to cure patients of cancers including blood cancer.

Doctors are still monitoring Hiep for any side effects that could affect his liver, heart of lungs.

They said he was expected to fully recover after six months to one year.

His treatment costs VND300 million (VND14,300). Seventy percent for the total cost was paid by health insurance.

Haploidentical stem cell transplantation is a treatment option for the approximately 70 percent of patients who do not have an HLA-identical sibling donor, according to a doctor of Massachusetts General Hospital.

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