NEW DELHI : The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) plans to set up centres for advanced research for bone marrow transplant (BMT) in government hospitals across India. The apex medical research institute is of the view that BMT is a high-end procedure done for critically ill patients and the majority of centres are in the private sector thus limiting access of treatment to the poor.
ICMR plans to support the medical institutions in setting up state-of-the-art infrastructure for BMT across India to make it safe and accessible.
BMT is an advanced therapeutic intervention for a number of malignant and non-malignant conditions such as haemoglobinopathies, hematological cancers, aplastic anaemia and primary immunodeficiency disorders.
“BMT procedures are available in the private sector at very high costs and thus poor and needy people cannot afford it. The need of the hour is to make BMT services easily available, accessible, and affordable to the diseased and vulnerable population of the country, create an infrastructure and research centre to improve the outcome for this treatment protocol,” said Dr Lokesh Sharma, a scientist at ICMR. The research institute is also working to set up an institutional framework for hematopoietic cell transplantation. BMT services will be performed in compliance with the National Guidelines for Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, 2021. Under this research model, ICMR will set up multiple centres that will work to provide safe and affordable BMT procedures in all six regions of India, including north, south, east, west, north-east and central. The centres will also help analysis the disease burden in a particular region.
Government medical institutions that have the basic infrastructure and skilled manpower preferably with prior experience in doing bone marrow transplantation can send their applications to ICMR.
“The goal is to contribute to the development of BMT, improve access to this established standard of care and improve its outcome,” Sharma said. Research will be conducted to address issues on prevention of infectious complications, management of long-term issues, immune-based therapies and disease recurrence among others.