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A Second Shot Life | Outlook India Magazine

A Second Shot Life | Outlook India Magazine

Thalassaemia and blood cancer—the only cure is a bone marrow transplant from a donor, also called stem cell treatment. But where does one find a donor in a country where just a small percentage of men and women have registered to volunteer as stem cell donors?

Simran Bhalla, 20, of Delhi has thalassaemia. She requires regular blood transfusion to stay alive. A stem cell transplant can cure her of the genetic
blood disorder.

Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari

A Second Shot At Life



  • 1.5 lakh There are about these many thalassaemic children in India. Around 15,000 are born with the disease each year, but most don’t survive
  • 1 lakh+ Estimated number of blood cancer patients in India, which ranks third after the US and China


There’s  an enduring mystique about stem cells. One that relates to the sense of an utt­erly simple functionality—what they do, which is to say, they are a factory that can produce all the cells and tissues the body requires. The other is of mind-boggling complication—how they do it; which is, the different kinds of blood, muscle and skin cells all stemming from a group of basic cells we are born with and which keep us going…repairing, replenishing, regenerating. These are the adult stem cells. The master keys they use to make all these other specialised tissues have been the subject of intense research for decades. Remember Dolly the sheep—the first mammal to be cloned nearly 25 years ago from an…



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