EBMT 2018 | Collaborating to help deliver transplants for thalassemia

Khaled Ghanem

Here, Khaled Ghanem, MD, from the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, outlines the collaborative approach taken by his institution, local government and non-profit organisations to help deliver stem cell transplant therapy for patients with thalassemia. Dr Ghanem was speaking from the 2018 European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) Annual Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal

Transcript (edited for clarity):

Thalassemia as an inherited disorder that needs to be cured through a permanent therapeutic option like hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Now this year from our institution, the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, we are presenting our experience with providing this very expensive therapy for children with transfusion-dependent thalassemia, with a very nice collaboration between third party organizations, nonprofit organizations, some foundations and a nonprofit center that was supported by many people, and an academic BMT service like our institution.
So through this collaboration, we were able to treat 12 patients with thalassemia. We have a hundred percent overall survival rate, we were able to support these 12 patient with pre-transplant care, transplant care and post transplant care. They are of a good clinical condition, at an average of two years post-transplant, and I think treating them without this collaboration would have been impossible, they would need significant financial support, social support, to get the therapy and to be cured.
This is, I think other developing countries, other middle-income countries might benefit from our experience regarding transplanting patients with thalassemia majorly, through this collaboration between nonprofit organizations between centers that take care of thalassemia patients pre-transplant, government and academic institutions that’s provide the transplant service.

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