Cancer treatment: HMC conducts Qatar’s first allogeneic transplant
January 24 2018 09:56 PM
Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Alhijji
Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Alhijji says setting up of a donor registry for stem cells is being planned.

The Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit at Hamad Medical Corporation's National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR), has conducted the first allogeneic transplant in the country.

The NCCCR has also processed about 36 autologous transplants so far for blood related cancer treatment, an official said Wednesday. .
In an allogeneic transplant, stem cells are collected from a matching donor and transplanted into the patient to suppress the disease and restore the patient's immune system whereas an autologous stem cell transplant uses stem cells from the patient's own body.
“The first allogeneic transplant in the country was done in October 2017 and right from 2015 we have conducted about 36 autologous transplants. The second allogeneic transplant was started in 2017 and completed in 2018,” said Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Alhijji, head of Clinical Hematology, SCT Section, Medical Oncology, NCCCR.
“We are also planning to set up a donor registry for stem cells. We have about 80 cases for transplant a year. With the current facilities we can conduct the transplants but we need more," noted, Dr Alhijji.
According to the official, in the past, the source for the stem cell transplant was bone marrow. He said, “The bone marrow is collected from the donor under general anaesthesia. However, now we can collect the stem cells peripherally from people. The stem cells are collected and sent to the laboratory.”
“In some cases, Qatar Red Crescent society has helped us in conducting the transplant. They arranged donors from abroad and if the tissues were matched, the donor was brought here-all at the expenses of Qatar Red Crescent and the transplant is done,” Dr Alhijji explained.
The physician noted that a lot of progress has taken place in the haematology department in the recent years. “There are different sub-specialties and we deal with blood related diseases and disorders. We treat various malign and benign forms of cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma among others,” he stated.
“For the last few years, we have started the bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant. We provide state of the art treatment and therapy for a variety of blood disorders and diseases. We have a number of multidisciplinary teams that provide the treatments. They include physicians, nurses, paramedical staff, health educators and many more.” Dr Alhijji pointed out.
The official highlighted that collaboration, education and research are the major pillars of HMC and the staff have published many papaers of research study. “We have the guidelines from HMC as well as from the Ministry of Public Health for treatment. We follow these directives and our team also collaborates with some of the leading organisations around the world. We have partnerships with institutes such as University Health Network, Toronto Oxford University European Leukemia Network and many more,” he added.

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