A two-month-old baby girl from Karwar became one of the youngest recipients of Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) in the country. Anisha, born with bubble baby syndrome, underwent the procedure in Mumbai a couple of days ago.
Anisha Bandekar, the infant, was born in Karwar, Karnataka, in October 2023. She was referred to Parel’s Wadia hospital from a Mangalore hospital when she was 19 days old. She was identified as a candidate for BMT and underwent the procedure within the next two months. The donor was an unrelated match.
Anisha’s father, Geetesh Bandekar, a civic contractor from Karwar, informed that their previous child had passed away due to severe infections at 11 months of age. Thereafter, the doctors advised them to undergo specific tests if they wished to have another baby. After Anisha was born, she had to undergo several tests within a few hours after her birth, which revealed that she had bubble baby syndrome. Medically, this syndrome is known as Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (SCID).
SCID is a rare genetic disorder affecting 1 in 60000 babies where the child is born without an immune system. It occurs due to genetic mutations that affect the development and functioning of T cells and B cells, which are critical for the body’s ability to fight infections. This leads to the body’s high susceptibility to bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The term bubble baby is commonly used for such children, as they need to be isolated in sterile conditions to avoid contracting infections. The treatment for SCID includes stem cell or bone marrow transplants, gene therapy, or enzyme replacement therapy.
B. J. Wadia Hospital CEO Dr. Minne Bodhanwala stated that they feel satisfied to treat young babies with innovative therapies like bone marrow transplantation at their hospital. Anisha’s case also brings into light the importance of early diagnosis and the collaborative efforts of medical professionals and bone marrow registries, she further added.
Dr. Prashant Hirwalkar, a BMT transplant physician at Wadia Hospital, said that Anisha was referred from the Mangalore hospital to their bone transplant unit as soon as her parents became aware of her condition. The medical team worked day and night to find a donor match, and subsequently, the stem cells were transplanted on November 11. During the period of finding a donor, Anisha was monitored in the bone marrow transplant ward, and precautions were taken to ensure that she did not contract any infections. He further added that early diagnosis and quick referral to the transplant center played a vital role in the successful surgery without any complications. Anisha was discharged on December 26.
Anisha’s parents are relieved and elated that Anisha got a donor and the transplant was done on time. They plan to stay in Mumbai for the next 6 months to follow up with the doctors at Wadia Hospital.
(Inputs from various sources)
(Rehash/Dr. Sushmita Ganguli)