Moinam Pal is a 6 year old boy from Siliguri, West Bengal, who was diagnosed with HbE-Beta Thalassaemia and was successfully treated with stem cell therapy.

His is an amazing medical story that has created a new hope in millions of parents across the country.

This long awaited child was born on February 25, 2005 to Ashim Kumar and Manisha Pal, both of whom are teachers.  Their joy, however, was short-lived.  When Moinam was 7 months old, he started looking very pale and tired which made the worried parents rush him to the doctor.

The paediatrician ordered blood tests which showed that the child had an abnormally low haemoglobin count. Basic medicines failed to work and his haemoglobin only dropped further.

Further specialized tests showed that he suffered from HbE-Beta Thalassaemia.  This is a genetic disorder which causes the body to produce abnormal form of haemoglobin, the protein which carries oxygen in the blood.

This abnormality causes wide-spread destruction of the red blood cells in the blood which results in severe anaemia.  This can lead to impaired growth and development and a number of physical abnormalities and if left untreated, the life expectancy of the child can drastically decrease.

Most children with this disorder do not survive for more than 10 years. The distraught parents did all they could to find out means to save their child.

In the meanwhile he had to undergo frequent blood transfusions and medication to keep up his haemoglobin levels.  Their search for a cure took them to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Cancer Research Hospital, where he stem cell transplant was suggested.

Dr. Ashish Mukherjee told them that there was hope for the child if they could find a donor who was free from E – Beta Thallasaemia major and the cells should be a 100%match if taken from the bone marrow and 66% match if taken from cord blood.

The chances of success would be higher if the cells were taken from a sibling.  The parents decided to try for a second child and thus Ahoma was born in 2009.  (Both Ashim and Manisha are carriers of thalassaemia, so it was a matter of chance – 25% chance – that the second child would be born free of the disease).

Fortunately Ahoma was born free of the disorder and her cells were a perfect match for transplant. Ahoma’s cord blood cells were collected, harvested, processed and preserved at birth by CordLife which is the largest network of stem cell banks in the Asia Pacific region dealing with stem cell transplant and research.

But since the cell count was low in the cord blood, some amount of bone marrow stem cells were also collected for the transplant and then these were transfused to Moinam.  The mixed stem cell transplant started showing results within 22 days.

He is presently in the recovery period and is getting healthier day by day much to the delight of his worried parents. This unique opportunity of stem cell banking has opened doors to parents and their kids suffering from such dreadful diseases, a chance to fight back and reclaim life.