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VietNamNews

Blood cancer patient gets stem cell transplant

Update: April, 03/2015 - 16:02
Professor Nguyen Anh Tri (left) congratulate patient Linh for the successful surgery. — Photo vov.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — The first stem cell transplant from community umbilical cord blood samples was conducted successfully, Director of the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion Professor Nguyen Anh Tri said yesterday (NIHBT).

The patient, 28-year-old Hoang Thi Thuy Linh from the central province of Quang Binh, was diagnosed with blood cancer in September last year.

"Stem cell transplant is the best method to save her," Tri said.

The three main sources of stem cells are bone marrow fluid, periphery blood stem cells and umbilical cord blood.

When Linh needed the transplant, six of 450 blood samples stored at the institute's community stem cell bank were found to be compatible with her, Tri said.

Linh's stem cell transplant was conducted towards the end of December last year. She was supervised closely for three months after that.

At present, Linh can walk by herself and her blood cell indices are near-normal and stable. She is expected to be discharged from hospital in a week.

The cost of Linh's surgery was nearly VND1 billion (US$47,600). Health insurance paid for half of that amount.

Tri said stem cell transplant has been used to treat blood diseases in the country for a long time. The institute itself has handled 150 cases. But Linh's case was the first instance of such a transplant being conducted successfully for a very life-threatening disease.

Deputy Director of NIHBT Bach Quoc Khanh said other countries used umbilical cord blood samples to transplant stem cells in children only, because the amount of stem cells could only meet the demand in children's cases and was not enough for a 60kg to 70kg adult.

The institute's community stem cell bank was founded in May last year. It is the first bank of its kind in Viet Nam, storing stem cells from umbilical cord blood samples donated by pregnant women. — VNS

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