First-ever bone marrow transplant conducted in UAE

United Arab Emirates, July 29, 2020

Announcing the first-ever bone marrow transplant successfully conducted in the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre (ADSCC) has inaugurated the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant programme, AD-BMT.

Typically used to treat patients with hematological and oncological illnesses, the bone marrow transplant was performed on a patient with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, a WAM report said.

Though cancer is the third-highest cause of death in the UAE, Emirati citizens and residents have often sought treatment abroad for cell therapy and regenerative medicine.

The successful transplant, which was the result of collaboration between ADSCC and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, represents a groundbreaking advancement for cancer patients living in the UAE who can now seek treatment closer to home to remain with family.

Bone marrow transplants, or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, are one of the most established stem cell-based therapies in the treatment of cancer, particularly blood cancers. The unique treatment procedure developed by ADSCC, involved harvesting peripheral blood stem cells from the patient, who then underwent high-dose chemotherapy to eradicate all cancerous cells and most of the bone marrow.

The harvested stem cells were then infused back into the bloodstream, where they restore the destroyed cells and over the course of two weeks restart the production of healthy non-malignant blood cells.

'The patient is basically without an immune system while waiting for the transfused cells to take effect and must remain in isolation under the strictest infection control guidelines,' said Dr Yendry Ventura, General Manager of ADSCC and BMT Programme Director.

'Since we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, we took additional precautions to ensure the best outcome possible for all involved.'

Earlier last month, ADSCC announced the results of the trial of its breakthrough treatment for COVID-19 patients, branded UAECell19, demonstrating its remarkable safety and efficacy. UAECell19 went on to secure three levels of intellectual property protection in recognition of its originality and novel medical application.

Moreover, the announcement of the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant programme demonstrates ADSCC’s continued commitment to delivering state-of-the-art and evidence-based services to the UAE market, including an array of stem cell therapies. It aims to make the BMT treatment available to all patients in the UAE who require it.

'It fills us with great pride to be part of a first for the country and to make such a life-saving treatment available and accessible to those who need it here,' said Dr Fatima Alkaabi, BMT Executive Director. 'We are very grateful for the support and collaboration of SKMC in making this opportunity possible.'

ADSCC was founded with the primary objective of meeting growing domestic and regional demand for advanced medical services and most innovative treatments in the UAE.

ADSCC is committed to ensuring the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant programme meets the highest standards of quality and patient satisfaction at all steps of the process, including treatment, aftercare, and follow-up between clinical BMT personnel, patients, and their families.

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