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Autologous Stem Cell Transplants Cure Indian Patients, October 10, 2007

Apollo Hospitals Ahmedabad has introduced the option of autologous stem cell transplant for cancer patients not responding to conventional treatments like chemotherapy, radioactivity, and surgery. The treatment is supposed to be the best treatment for young cancer patients but it is not recommended for patients with too many health complications or older patients.

“A lot of patients from Gujarat travel to Vellore and Chennai for specialized cancer treatment. Now, they will have the option to try the most advanced cancer treatment in their own city,” said Preetha Reddy, the director of Apollo hospitals.

In the fields of cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, diabetes, as well as conditions which are currently incurable, stem cell research is expected to yield miracles. But only in the case of blood diseases has the use of stem cells been approved and proven to be completely effective.

To treat leukaemia and lymphoma, autologous stem cell transplant has been used for the first time in the state. Two patients will under go stem cell transplant soon and another two have already been successfully treated.

“While the stem cell transplant is almost as costly as conventional drug therapies, the cure rates are slightly higher being around 70 percent,” says Dr Chirag Shah, hemato-oncologist at Apollo hospital, Ahmedabad.

Minimum medication and a month long stay in the hospital is required after the transplant procedure is completed. With this treatment, the high cost and dangerous side effects of chemotherapy are completely avoided.

The Apollo Hospital is also planning to set up its first umbilical cord stem cell bank in Ahmedabad.

“By the year end, we will have a state-of-the-art cord blood stem cell bank here. The project is going to cost us around US $ 15-20 million.”

In addition to the country, the entire world will benefit from the stem cell bank which will store a huge pool of cord-blood stem cells at its facility and distribute these worldwide.


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