Strides in Stem Cell Transplant

Strides in Stem Cell TransplantStrides in Stem Cell Transplant

Around 6,000 hematopoietic stem cell transplantations are carried out annually in Iran by using the patients’ own cells, and a far higher number are performed using cells from donors who are often close relatives of the patient, according to the Hematology-Oncology Research Center and Stem Cell Transplantation (HORCSCT) affiliated to the Tehran University of Medical Sciences.  

Ardeshir Qavamzadeh, head of the center, addressing a ceremony to commend professors and board members at the Zanjan University of Medical Sciences in Zanjan, northwestern Iran, said the number of stem cell transplants is on par with figures in the developed countries.

The success rate in the treatment of diseases requiring transplantation is 67% at HORCSCT, which is high by global standards, he said, quoted by ISNA.

Referring to the fast and progressive development of stem cell discipline in Iran, he said since 1983, when the adult leukemia specialty was initiated in the country, 275 specialists have been trained in the field and “there is at least one specialist in each province now.”

Today, one cannot find a treatment method of stem cell transplantation in the world’s most advanced research centers that is not practiced in Iran. “We have reached a level where we can compete with the developed nations.”

  10 HSCT Hubs

There are ten hubs with regard to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in the country. Each includes medical universities from a number of provinces with one as the focal point. Medical universities of Zanjan, Qazvin, Alborz and Qom comprise one of the hubs with Zanjan as the center, said Mehdi Eskandari, education deputy at Zanjan University of Medical Sciences.  

HSCT is the transplantation of multi-potent hematopoietic stem cells, usually derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood. It may be autologous (when the patient’s own stem cells are used) or allogeneic (stem cells from a donor). It is a medical procedure in the field of hematology, most often performed for patients with certain cancers of the blood or bone marrow, such as multiple myeloma or leukemia.

Since HSCT is a relatively risky procedure with many possible complications, it is reserved for patients with life-threatening diseases. However, as the survival rate following the procedure has increased, its use has expanded beyond cancer, including in autoimmune diseases, blood diseases like thalassaemia major, metabolic disorders, alcoholic liver, and even rheumatism.