In the past two decades, the number of bone marrow transplants performed at the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition increased 10-fold, the Ministry of Health assured.
During this time, 363 transplants were performed, with survival increased by 60 percent and transplant patient mortality was significantly reduced, Eucario León Rodríguez, coordinator of the Department of Hematology and Oncology and responsible for the transplant program, explained. of the hematopoietic progenitor cells of this institute.
He said that this was due to the change in treatment and coverage with Seguro Popular.
León Rodríguez explained that haematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation is a procedure by which these types of blood cells are transfused into the bone marrow to treat, among others, diseases such as leukemia, lymphomas, aplastic anemia and multiple myeloma.
He explained that previously, when such diseases were diagnosed, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or both to remove the diseased bone marrow was administered.
However, it has been observed that chemotherapy doses established internationally to treat this problem were too toxic for patients, so it has been decided to adjust and reduce between 15 and 20% of the haematological treatment regimen.
We have also begun to use a technique that involves stimulating the bone marrow of the same patient to obtain new cells to be transplanted; This is called autotransplant.
While allograft is when progenitor cells are extracted from a genetically compatible donor, such as parents or siblings.
On the other hand, he stressed that the main problem faced by patients requiring bone marrow transplantation is their cost, a situation that was resolved two years ago, when Seguro Popular included this intervention in the Catastrophic Expenses Fund.
Currently, 90 percent of this type of transplant performed by the institute is no longer an out-of-pocket expense for the patient, he said.