The first allogeneic bone marrow transplantation has been successfully conducted at the Department of Hematology of the University of Debrecen.
BMT procedures of this kind have been a routine practice in the world for the past fifty years or so; however, in Hungary, there has been just one active center in the capital city for transplanting stem cells from a genetically similar, but not identical, adult donor. On June 27, 2016, the first such procedure was completed in the Clinical Center of the University of Debrecen, too.
“Given the current state of medical knowledge, in certain cases of leukemia or patients with poor bone marrow reserve, the only possible solution for rehabilitation can be the transplantation of bone marrow cells from another person as donor. During the allogeneic bone marrow transplantation procedure, we take stem cells either from the bone marrow or from peripheral blood of the donor, which we then infuse into patients with bone marrow or blood-forming disorders,” said Árpád Illés, the Head of the Department of Hematology, about the course followed during the procedure.
The objective of the operation is to make sure that, after the proper preliminary treatment, the healthy blood-forming stem cells get to destroy the unhealthy bone marrow cells and are built in the old cells to facilitate the healing process. During the course of the transplant, it is essential that the bone marrow to be transplanted should display a proper immunological match with that of the recipient, because the transplantation can only be successful if this happens to be the case.
“It is a big step forward and a significant milestone for our country and for the hematological patients, too, that allogeneic stem cell transplants are now possible to be conducted at the Department of Hematology of the University of Debrecen in addition to autologous stem cell transplants (when patients receive their own stem cells). Thanks to the continuously advancing technical and technological conditions, this procedure provides a chance for more and more patients to get healthy again. The simple fact that now there are two centers where this kind of transplantation can be administered means that the waiting lists are going to be shorter and more patients will get access to this complicated and costly procedure. Our institution has been granted permission by Országos Egészség Pénztár [National Health Insurance Fund] for completing an additional 20 allogeneic procedures every year on top of the 60 autologous transplantations,” said Professor Illés.
He also added that the present status of affairs had been preceded by several years of preparatory hematological work. In order for the procedure to be safe and successful, it is essential that numerous other partner areas, like clinical medicine, laboratory diagnostics, and transfusiology, should also be properly prepared and upgraded, in addition to the crucial professional and financial support provided for the Clinical Center and the University of Debrecen.