The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan has disclosed its intention to commence an advanced bone marrow transplant that will ensure complete cure for patients with Sickle cell diseases.
The Consultant Hermatologist of UCH, Dr Titilola Akingbola who said this while addressing journalists stated that two- third of Nigeria population have Sickle Cell disease, adding that they have brought in experts from United States to train them on how it can be cured completely through the bone marrow transplant.
It is a great burden on Nigerians and Africa and it’s so sad that w have increasing long survival among patients who are most times surviving in pains. We will be using hydroxyures for them but it needs close monitoring. This new method needs blood donors for them to survive and it will save their lives completely.
It will be a red cell exchange which means the removal and replacment of the red cells. After this the patient will have total relief from the pains. They will only change the red cells coming from the bone marrow.
In his remark, the Head of Hermatologist, University of Illinois, Chicago, Prof Damiano Rondelli said for over 30 years, everyone knows that the bone marrow transplant can cure Sickle Cell diseases but they are afraid of the complications associated with it.
According to him, this new method has nothing to do with surgery, we will only take the cells out of the bones of the donors and give it to the Sickle Cell patients without any side effects.
The complications of the transplant has scared so many parents, patients and even doctors away, but this is a combination of two drugs for the transplant and it involves less complications for the patients. We now have a new way of during the transplant without any form of therapy before we give the patient the stem cells. With it the patient will be 90 per cent Sickle Cell disease free.
No disease is associated with the transplant and that is what distinguishes it from the normal stem cell transplant. We believe UCH can become the centre for Sickle Cell disease treatment for Africa and that is why we need the help of everybody for sustenance for this new method to work especially in finance and donation of the bone marrow.
Reacting, the Chief Medical Director of UCH, Prof Temitope Alonge noted that the hospital has commenced the building of a Sickle Cell centre, but the construction has stopped due to lack of funding.
We need the assistance of well meaning Nigerians to complete this centre and also donors. When completed we will give free treatment for the first five patients.