UAE: Overseas treatment requests for bone marrow transplants to dip by 50%, says official

With Abu Dhabi making rapid progress, residents will no longer have to incur hefty medical costs


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sat 28 May 2022, 2:07 PM

Last updated: Sat 28 May 2022, 10:53 PM

With the Capital making rapid progress in bone marrow transplants for children, the request for treatment abroad would drop by 50 per cent in the next two years, said a top official from Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Centre (ADSCC).

“Abu Dhabi is currently distinguished by the application of the highest standards used in the treatment of bone marrow transplantation, which are followed in the latest medical centres abroad,” said Dr Fatima Al Kaabi, Director, the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant Programme (AD-BMT) at the Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Centre.

It was in July 2020 that ADSCC inaugurated the AD-BMT programme with the UAE’s first-ever successful procedure on a patient with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.

Though cancer is the third-highest cause of death in the UAE, citizens and residents had often sought treatment abroad for cell therapy and regenerative medicine in previous years. But in April 2021, the first Emirati patient benefited from the programme.

“By providing these distinguished services in the country makes it easier for us as specialists in this field to provide medical care for the cases that you need while staying in the family environment and providing psychological support in addition to reducing costs compared to treatment abroad,” she said during the first Emirates Paediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Congress in Abu Dhabi.

In April this year, Burjeel Medical City performed the country’s first paediatric bone marrow transplant from a donor to a child. And the latest success was the UAE’s first BMT for a child with thalassemia performed in Abu Dhabi on a three-year-old boy from Iraq.

“We expect, during the next two years, with the presence of bone marrow transplants for children, to reduce the request for treatment abroad for these cases to 50 per cent,” Dr Fatima added.

Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, chairman and managing director, VPS Healthcare, said with treatment available at home, it will reduce the medical bills for residents who, till date, sought expensive care abroad, which in some cases could hit $1 million.


“The conference and the theme are a critical and timely one as it highlights the significant improvements in the care and delivery of therapies for some of the complex diseases afflicting children around the world,” he said.

The first Emirates Paediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Congress saw the participation of more than 2,500 experts and specialists from the UAE and abroad and runs till on Sunday.

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