Binaytara Foundation (BTF), a US-based non-profit, supported the establishment of the first Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Center at Civil Service Hospital, a government hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal. The BMT center in Kathmandu will serve not only the population of Nepal but also patients from neighboring countries.
BMT is a standard procedure for the treatment of blood cancers, genetic blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia, and diseases causing bone marrow failure such aplastic anemia. The procedure involves a multidisciplinary approach with the expertise and efforts of well-trained physicians, nurses, and allied healthcare professionals.
The first transplant using blood stem cells was performed at Civil Hospital on August 14, 2016. The recipient is an 18-year old man suffering from aggressive lymphoma. The patient received a high dose of chemotherapy followed by an autologous transplant with his own cells. The patient was successfully discharged after complete recovery (picture: Dr. Bishesh Poudyal with the patient). Dr. Binay Shah, the president of the Binaytara Foundation stated, “Cost of autologous transplant in Nepal is under 5000 USD, and it is affordable for many patients who are in need of transplant. In contrast, it costs approximately 100,000 USD for autologous stem cell transplant in the United States.”
The idea of a BMT program in Nepal started when Dr. Damiano Rondelli (Director of BMT at the University of Illinois at Chicago) and Dr. Binay Shah, an oncologist and founder of Binaytara Foundation, visited the country in 2011. Upon meeting with local cancer physicians, it became clear that the development of a BMT center would help many Nepalese patients with blood disorders. BTF sponsored the training of the BMT team from Kathmandu, including two physicians and a nurse, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Currently, BTF is supporting the training in clinical genetics at the University of Colombo (Sri Lanka) of another physician who is expected to join the BMT team at Civil Service Hospital in 2017.