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Pakistan infant becomes youngest bone marrow donor in India

BENGALURU: A Pakistani infant has become the youngest bone marrow donor in India after donating healthy bone marrow stem cells to his elder sister, who underwent successful transplant at a hospital in Bengaluru.

Eight-month-old Rayan donated to his two-and-a-half-year-old  sister Zeenia, who was suffering from a rare disease in which the bone marrow produces some abnormal cells which eat away the normal cells, resulting in high fever, low blood counts, liver and spleen enlargement.

Zeenia was suffering from Hemaphagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), which doctors had termed a potentially life threatening disorder, and said the only cure for this condition was bone marrow transplant. She was also diagnosed to have partial albinism since birth as well.

Dr Sunil Bhat, Senior Consultant and Head of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Narayana Health City hospital, said that they discovered that brother was a Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) match for her, and suggested to operate on him.

“As the donor is just eight months old to collect the adequate dosage, he was required to undergo the donation process twice at a gap of only few weeks,” Dr Bhat said.

He said that they had successfully extracted enough marrow which helped cure Zeenia, by using small marrow extraction needles with the assistance of a team of anaesthetists and other members.

Rayan has not only saved his sister but he also has the unique distinction of being the youngest marrow donor in India.

They have advised her parents, who hail from Sahiwal, about certain follow-ups that Zeenia needs to undergo after going back home.

The doctors also said Rayan was doing “exceptionally” well and fine.The doctors said the procedure was conducted in October, and Zeenia is cured of her “deadly disease” and ready to leave for Pakistan to lead a normal life.

Zeenia had earlier undergone treatment at a hospital in Rawalpindi. Her father Ziaullah said his daughter was now fine and recovering, after a “general fear factor” when they landed in India.

Her mother Farzeen said it was very difficult for them to decide on bone marrow donation from her eight-month old son.

“Obviously both children are important for us. When we got to know that they are match siblings and it was a promising option, we decided to take risk,” she said.

This story originally appeared in Hindustan Times



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