Replacement of damaged bone marrow with healthy stem cells to form a new bone marrow is known as a bone marrow transplant. The BMT procedure is primarily of 2 types:
- Autologous transplant
- Allogeneic transplant
The autologous transplants involve transplantation of the cells taken from the body of the patient. The cells are extracted and stored. The cells are then treated for cancer outside the body and injected back into the body. In an autologous transplant, there is a reduced risk of complications like graft-versus-host disease.
On the other hand, the allogeneic bone marrow transplant involves taking cells from a donor. The donor can be any relative, sibling or even an unrelated donor. The allogeneic transplant is usually recommended in the following cases:
- Bone marrow failures
- Immunodeficiency conditions
- Metabolic disorders
- Malignant diseases
Factors determining the cost
In general, the bone marrow transplant cost in India ranges between 15,000 USD to 30,000 USD. However, it varies depending upon the type and other factors such as,
The complexity of the case - The final cost will depend upon the overall condition and severity of the disease. For example, it is difficult to conduct a bone marrow transplant for those who are diabetic. Hence the cost increases.
Age of the patient - The patients with younger age are able to adapt and recover from the surgical trauma easier than older people. Hence the stay of the hospital and overall care increases.
Type of the transplant -
- For autologous transplants, there is no donor bone marrow. Hence, the cost is lesser as compared to the allogeneic transplant.
- For an allogeneic transplant, the bone marrow with 10/10 HLA matching donor is used. Therefore, the cost gets higher when it comes to this type of transplant. The cost will also include the price of tests, lab works and other facilities for the donor.
Another type of bone marrow transplant is known as Haplo-Allogenic bone marrow transplant. In this, the bone marrow is taken from the donor, having partial HLA match. The cost can be high because the procedure is much more complicated.
The major aspects of the costs include the following:
- Health checkup - The complete checkup and physical examination costs around 3000 USD.
- All other investigations and lab works usually are worth 800 USD approximately.
- In cases where HLA typing, an additional 1200 USD are required.
- Chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions cost for another 5000 USD.
- Rest of the cost is consumed in medications and post-operative care.
Why is India preferred for bone marrow transplant over other nations?
- The cost of treatment is very low in India as compared to the other developed nations.
- The cost of living is also affordable, which includes stay and commuting expenses.
- Despite the low cost, the infrastructure and technologies used at the hospital are leading-edge with state-of-the-art equipment.
- The doctors are highly skilled and experienced.
- The hospitals have internationally recognized BMT centres.
What is the life expectancy after a bone marrow transplant?
People with a bone marrow transplant, who are able to survive for at least 5 years after hematopoietic cell transplant without any signs and symptoms of relapse of the original disease, have more probability of surviving for another 15 years. However, a normal life expectancy is not completely achieved.
Despite a very high success rate of this procedure, there are chances of several types of complications. These complications may vary from patient to patient depending upon various factors such as,
- Age and overall health of the patient
- Any underlying disease and its chances of recurrence
- Presence of any other medical condition
- Type of transplant
- Preparations are done before the transplant
- The health of the donor