DKMS further expands support for patients in India
In its efforts to increase the access to transplantation for blood cancer and blood disorder patients in low- and middle-income countries, DKMS has provided funding for four single rooms specifically designed for patients undergoing stem cell transplantation. The rooms are part of the newly built bone marrow transplant (BMT) units of the non-profit Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore and its recently inaugurated Ranipet Campus in Southern India. With the new campus, CMC has substantially expanded its treatment capacity from previously 18 rooms to 29 rooms today. Further, DKMS contributes to the treatment costs for stem cell transplants for up to 100 patients in need.
As an international and multifaceted non-profit organisation, DKMS employs a wide range of programs and services to improve the situation for blood cancer and blood disorder patients. Increasing the access to transplantation is part of the organisation’s mission and only possible with experienced and trustworthy partners who are based on-site. “Our first contact with CMC Vellore was back in 2008. One of their patients received the first stem cell donation from a DKMS donor that we sent from Germany to India,” says Dr. Alexander Schmidt, Global Medical Chief Executive Officer at DKMS. “When we learned of the plans for the new campus and the capacity expansion, we made a commitment to fund the BMT rooms in the transplant unit. We are very impressed by the state-of-the-art facility that our partners have built in such a cost-efficient way”, he adds.
Holistic approach provides access to life-saving therapy
Today, DKMS assists the CMC Vellore with its international support program ‘Access to Transplantation’ on three levels: via the Capacity Building Program to make a sustainable contribution to the expansion of reliable and good healthcare, as a partner under the DKMS-BMST Thalassemia Program which provides free HLA typing to identify family donors, as well as the Patient Funding Program to lessen the financial burden for patients and their families. “We are very grateful for the contribution from DKMS on all levels. We will be able to treat around 300 patients in our new BMT units each year. A dedicated team of highly-trained specialists will ensure that we can deliver the best possible clinical outcomes for our patients,” says Dr. Vikram Mathews, Director of CMC Vellore.
In the beginning of 2021, DKMS also started to contribute to the treatment costs for stem cell transplants for up to 100 patients in need. While social workers at the CMC Vellore apply for local funds for patients and their families, these are not always sufficient to fully cover the treatment costs. With its contribution, DKMS closes this gap which makes all the difference to those in need. “While a blood stem cell transplant is often the only chance of a cure for patients with blood disorders, it is unaffordable for the majority of families,” says Dr. Elke Neujahr, Global CEO DKMS. Around one third of patients find a matching blood stem cell donor within their own family. Yet, in countless cases, patients do not have access to treatment due to socio-economic and infrastructural barriers. “Our aim is to reduce the financial burden on patients in need and to help build a better base for treatment,” she continues.