UAE: Now, needy patients can get bone marrow transplant in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre and Emirates Red Crescent will hold fundraising initiatives to finance BMT procedures for patients in need


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Fri 19 Apr 2024, 12:58 PM

The life-saving procedure of a bone marrow transplant, which comes with a hefty price tag, has been made accessible to underprivileged patients.

Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre (ADSCC) and Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) have entered into a partnership to enhance the availability of bone marrow transplants for those in need.

According to the agreement, underprivileged patients will be provided treatment and support through the centre’s dedicated Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant (ADBMT) programme. The centre will offer medical consultations to patients referred by the medical committee of ERC.

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Both entities will join efforts in fundraising initiatives to support and finance BMT procedures for underprivileged patients affected by various blood cancers, blood disorders, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.

The partnership agreement was signed by Mohammed Al Fahim, deputy secretary general of the support services sector at ERC, and Dr Maysoon Al Karam, chief medical officer of ADSCC – accredited as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in haematopoietic stem cell transplantation by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi.

Al Fahim highlighted the importance of such strategic partnerships in the healthcare sector to address the needs of vulnerable groups.

“The agreement with Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre reflects the shared goal between both parties of alleviating the suffering of patients, supporting their health needs, and strengthening cooperation to achieve better health outcomes for the Red Crescent’s beneficiaries.”

Dr Al Karam noted the collaboration will help to bridge the gap in healthcare access and ensure that state-of-the-art treatments are accessible to those in need.

“The UAE’s leadership has always placed the health and wellbeing of its people at the forefront of its priorities, ensuring that high-quality healthcare services are accessible to all. This commitment underscores the essence of our collaboration with the Emirates Red Crescent, reflecting our joint vision to expand the accessibility of advanced medical treatments.”

Launched in 2020, ADBMT is the first comprehensive programme in the UAE to provide autologous and allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplants for adults and children.

“By providing advanced treatments locally, we eliminate the need for patients to seek medical care abroad. This not only enhances convenience for patients and their families but also plays a vital role in reducing the nation’s healthcare expenditures,” Dr Al Karam said and pointed out the centre is dedicated to collaborating with key stakeholders to ensure healthcare access in the country.

“This commitment is geared towards achieving our vision of pioneering innovative solutions to discover cures for diseases,” Dr Al Karam underlined.

Since its inception, the centre has made remarkable achievements in BMT. In 2022, it conducted the first BMT for a patient with multiple sclerosis in the Middle East. Last year, the first BMT was performed for a newborn diagnosed with Krabbe disease, a rare genetic disorder. The centre has successfully used BMT to treat thalassemia. It has manufactured the UAE’s first CAR-T cells to treat an 11-year-old boy with leukaemia. Engineered CAR-T cell therapies are recognised as a medical breakthrough in blood cancer treatment.

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