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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Genotype Change Technology Now in Nigeria... UNIBEN Don

Dr. Godwin Bazuaye is a consultant dermatologist and specialist in bone marrow transplants. And he is currently the head of Human Dermatology and Co-ordinator of Stem Cell Transplant Unit at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH.
Recently he told Vanguard Hi-Tech in an exclusive interview, how the hospital successfully completed two stem cell transplants and how Nigerian can benefit from the technology locally, rather than going abroad to change their genotype, especially sickle cell patients. Read Excerpts of the interview after the cut...

What is stem cell Transplant?
It is a new model way of treating patients, where we have to transfer stem cells. These are cells that have the ability to produce new cells from a donor that is normal to a patient who has one illness or the other, after we have destroyed bone marrows, so that the new cells from the donor will produce new cells in the patient, which is almost like that of the donor. So, if you have a patient, whose genotype is SS, we will transplant cells that are AA from a normal person; the cells in the person will start producing AA.
How does it work?
You have to enable the body accept new cells to be transplanted. In this unit, you can change the genotype of a child or an individual from sickle cell to AA. You bring a primitive cell from a donor to a recipient. Before this time, you would have reduced the immunity in the patient to the barest minimum so that he can accept what you are giving to him, called stem cell. It can also be used for cancer patients. Major beneficiaries are sickle cell patients. Once it is done, they are no longer sicklers.
Are there risks involved?
We don't collect blood from the veins; we have to use a needle on the bone marrow to bring out blood. Usually, the risk is very minimal. To the donor, there is no risk in the procedure, except the risk that has to do with going to the theatre. Apparently, the last one we did was a 14 year-old boy. By the third day, he had gone home and he resumed school the next day. For the patient, the risk is very low, as it has to do with the hard drugs, which the body could react to. For the patient, they are placed on very high drugs in the course of destroying the bone marrow. It could lead to side effects reaction.

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