8 year old gets completely cured of relapsed Leukemia at Narayana Health City with Immunotherapy and Bone Marrow Transplant
Bangalore, August 5, 2016: Treatment of Cancer gets a step ahead with Immunotherapy – the new age treatment for Cancer promising hope for cancer patients, especially those with relapsed and refractory cancers. The Immunotherapy drug, which is FDA approved had to be imported from USA specifically for the treatment of 8 year old Rihaan who was suffering from relapse of Leukemia (blood cancer) at Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, Narayana Health City, Bangalore. Today, after six months post treatment, Rihaan is doing well and waiting to get back to school .
The treatment was led by Dr. Sharat Damodar, Clinical Director – Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre, Sr. Consultant Hematologist & Head – Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, Narayana Health City along with Dr. Nataraj K S, Consultant Hematologist & Bone Marrow Transplant, Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, Narayana Health City.
The doctors at Narayana Health City are of the opinion that the novel Immunotherapy could be the new way forward in relapsed and refractory cancers such as Leukemia. Apart from Leukemia, other types of cancers such as , Lymphoma, Lung cancer, Prostate cancer and Melanoma can be treated using Immunotherapy.
Speaking to media persons on Friday, Dr. Sharat Damodar, Clinical Director – Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre, Sr. Consultant Hematologist & Head – Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, Narayana Health City said “For any type of cancer, traditionally the treatment has been chemotherapy. We have situations where patients are refractive to chemotherapy or the disease is not completely cured even after completing all sessions of chemotherapy. Immunotherapy promises to be the new form of treatment to destroy targeted cancer cells.. Immunotherapy is being practiced routinely in the western world and is now emerging as a trusted treatment modality in India as well ”.
Back in 2012, life wasn’t that easy for 8-year old Rihaan and his family when he was diagnosed to have Pre B cell Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia, when he was evaluated for fever. He was diagnosed to be suffering from Acute Lymphatic Leukemia at a renowned medical institution in Tamil Nadu and was advised to start on chemotherapy. Since the family was based in Bangalore, they decided to continue further chemotherapy in Bangalore, at Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre,, Narayana Health City. He received chemotherapy as per protocol and went on to maintenance treatment from June 2013. He was doing well and had achieved near complete clearance of the disease.
Leukemia Hits Back:
However, in August 2015, Rihaan had developed generalized weakness and jaundice. His blood counts were again abnormal and hence bone marrow studies were repeated and this showed relapse of the leukemia. He was started on relapse chemotherapy protocol. His bone marrow had attained morphological remission however there was no complete clearance of the disease from the marrow. He had received the maximum possible dosage of chemotherapy and was planned for bone marrow transplant for which he needed to be in complete remission. In this situation, the only option was to treat Rihaan with Immunotherapy.
Dr. Nataraj K S, Consultant Hematologist & Bone Marrow Transplant, Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, Narayana Health City, said, “Chemotherapy takes the carpet bombing approach to kill cancer cells whereas Immunotherapy takes a targeted approach to destroy cancer cells. Remnant cells that were not responding to chemotherapy were thereby destroyed and as a result, we could get a clearance of the disease, which is very crucial for us to take the patient for bone marrow transplant. At Narayana Health, we believe Immunotherapy will be the future for treating relapse, refractory and other types of cancers”.
Since this particular Immunotherapy drug was not available in India, Rihaan’s family decided to import the injection (antibody) from USA taking necessary approvals. Once the drug was available, Rihaan was planned a monoclonal antibody (bispecific) blinotumomab infusion for 28 days and he received the injection every day. While injected every time, the antibodies go, bind the cancer cells individually and then destroy them.
As Rihaan’s case was a relapse of cancer, a bone marrow treatment was necessary to cure him from the disease completely. With the help of Immunotherapy treatment, repeat bone marrow showed complete clearance of the disease and he was now eligible for bone marrow transplant. HLA typing of his 10-year old brother completely matched with Rihaan. He was then taken up for allogenic matched sibling donor Bone Marrow Transplant that was successful in resolving the issue.
Immunotherapy can be used to treat cancers without bone marrow transplant procedure, however in case of relapse or refractory cancers, bone marrow transplant may be required along with Immunotherapy.
Rihaan is recovering well and wants to start playing cricket and football with his friends soon. In his free time, Rihaan loves to cook. He can make sandiwiches, salads and bake cakes and aspires to become a famous chef one day. Rihaan’s donor brother Nihaal studies in class five and his mother Ms. Pavitra is a teacher at a private High School in Bangalore.
About Narayana Health:
With all super-speciality tertiary care facilities that the medical world offers, Narayana Health is now a one-stop healthcare destination for all. From the first facility established in Bengaluru with approximately 225 operational beds in 2000, our Company has grown to 54 facilities (which include 53 facilities in India and 1 facility in the Cayman Islands operated by our Company's associate company, Health City Cayman Islands Ltd.) with 5300 operational beds with a potential to reach over 6600 beds. Our Company has a network of 23 hospitals (multispeciality and superspeciality healthcare facilities which provide tertiary care services), 7 heart centres (superspeciality units which are set up in a third party hospital) and 23 primary care facilities (including clinics and information centres), across a total of 18 cities in India. (For details, visit www.narayanahealth.org)
For clinical information
Dr. Sharat Damodar, Clinical Director – Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre, Sr. Consultant Hematologist & Head – Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, Narayana Health City
Dr. Nataraj K S, Consultant Hematologist & Bone Marrow Transplant, Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, Narayana Health City