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Southeast Asian Children With Leukaemia To Get New Treatment

According to experts a hospital in US is all set to use Singapore as a base in order to treat the children, who are suffering from leukaemia// , of the developing Southeast Asian countries.

The breakthrough enables the bone marrow cells of the parents to be used in the transplants the children need.

"We already have the facilities to purify the cells here," The Straits Times quoted Allen Yeoh, senior consultant at the National University Hospital (NUH), as saying.

The method, known as haploidentical transplantation, is aimed at children who need transplants but cannot find suitable matches.

Previously it was considered that a parent's bone marrow could not be used because it was too different from the child.

Scientists at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, have found a way to remove the strongest immune cells from the parent's bone marrow cells before transplanting them, allowing the child's body to accept them.

St. Jude is helping the NUH set up such a service in Singapore in a year's time.

The procedures have helped make St. Jude's remission rate for childhood leukaemia one of the best in the world, at 90 percent. NUH is hoping to improve its 80 percent rate.

Ching-Hon Pui, St. Jude's chairman of oncology, noted that leukaemia cure rates were between four percent and 55 percent in developing countries.

"Through this unique partnership, we can help many other children with cancer in Southeast Asia" and conduct collaborative research, he told the newspaper.

--Edited IANS

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