G Kuppusamy Naidu Hospital has done the first haplo identical transplant for Thalassemia major in Tamil Nadu. Thalassemia is a hereditary disease in which the production of haemoglobin is abnormal and hence these children are anemic since birth. They require blood transfusion once in 3 to 4 weeks life long.
Stem cell transplants need fully matched ( match of 10/10) HLA donor. It is often difficult to get a matched donor within these families. Haplo identical transplant is a novel procedure wherein even with 50% HLA match, (only 5/10 match) it is possible to do transplant by using post transplant cyclophosphamide as per John Hopkin's protocol. This has been widely used in patients with refractory blood cancers.
Previously patients with no donor have to go for unrelated matched donors which added enormous cost to the transplant. This is a boon for patients with Thalassemia major, as more number of these patients now become eligible for transplants with no escalated cost.