'Blood stem cell donation laws adequate in India'

Kolkata, Feb 23 (IANS) Laws regarding blood stem cell transplants in India are "adequate" at the moment, celebrated bone marrow transplant expert Mammen Chandy said on Thursday, adding that no unethical practices were going on in the country.

"I don't think there is any malpractice in India with regards to bone marrow donation... I can say, from personal experience... There is no unethical practice in this country in any of the centres," Chandy, Director of Tata Medical Centre (TMC), told media persons here.

Shedding light on the ethical concerns, Chandy said the donor "must not be remunerated" in any way and that is strictly adhered to.

"If it's a working person who has to lose two days, you can meet that amount of money that he would lose but there is no incentive.

"The donor and patient are not allowed to interact till the transplant is over so that there is no way a donor can demand anything from a person," he observed.

Chandy was speaking at an event organised by DATRI -- India's largest adult unrelated blood stem cell donors registry -- where a donor (27-year-old Sajat Jain) and recipient (Nilesh Kumar Sinha, 42-year-old), both Delhi-based, met for the first time, a year after the transplant.

In March 2015, Nilesh was diagnosed with Immune Thrombocytic Purpura. At a later stage, Aplastic Anemia was detected. He was brought to TMC in Kolkata from Bombay Hospital and was subsequently told that a blood stem cell transplant was required.

Jain, who runs a healthcare analytics start-up, had registered with Datri in 2014 (with a cheek swab) and was found to be a potential match for Nilesh. The procedure took place in November 2015.

"Transplantation is only done if there is no other simpler treatment which can cure the patient. Transplantation for me is the last choice because it is not simple," Chandy added discussing Nilesh's case. 

Recounting their experience, Nilesh and Sajat said they wish to generate awareness about the procedure, dubbing the donation as a "needle prick".