Stem cell transplant helps 8-year-old beat cancer
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Eight-year-old Paramita Aich spent her days dancing, attending school and playing hopscotch till she was detected with cancer a year ago. What followed was her long and painful stay in hospital. On Thursday, as she returned home from a city-based cancer institute, she was smiling once again. Thanks to a team of doctors, which successfully conducted stem cell transplantation on her, Paramita is once again hopeful of leading a normal life like others of her age.
"I am told that I will be able to dance and play hopscotch once again. I used to dance to Rabindra Sangeet from the age of four. But after I fell sick, I could not even walk," said Paramita.
A resident of Dum Dum, Paramita, started developing pain in her thigh and legs accompanied by high fever from September last year. Her parents took her to a local private nursing home where doctors mistakenly attributed her illness to a bone growth. With the pain continuing accompanied with abdominal pain, she was taken to Tata Memorial Hospital. It was there that she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma — a cancerous tumour of the adrenal gland — which was in its fourth stage.
Advised by doctors, Paramita was given chemotherapy. The sessions continued till she was brought to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) in the city where her treatment continued for three months.
However, a review and a minimal reaction to the chemotherapy made the oncologists carry out stem plant transplantation by taking stem cells from the patient's bone marrow. The transplantation was performed in April followed by two months of monitoring.
"It was a high risk disease and we found out that the chemotherapy was not effective. We took the stem cells from the patient's bone marrow, collected it, preserved it for one month, purified it and then used it for the transplant. After transplantation she was made to stay in a sterilised room till the stem cells engrafted," said Ashis Mukherjee, medical director, NCRI.
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