IN THE past two years, ten children from Cyprus have undergone bone marrow transplants at the Hospital of Berlin while another three are to be hospitalised there for a transplant.
The surgery was carried out by the Head of the Department of Transplant Hospital Berlin Dr Wolfram Ebell, who recently visited Cyprus to examine the children.
In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, Dr Ebell said that sadly one of the children had died. The rest were in good health, he said. Over the span of his career, Ebell has carried out 1,500 bone marrow transplants.
He said the three new cases from Cyprus were being prepared for surgery at the hospital in Berlin. The t process is not complicated, he said, but it was difficult for the families. “The problem is that they have to stay in hospital for six months and then they need care to ensure that the new immune system works,” he said.
“The patient should be isolated in hospital, stay protected from infections in a sterile environment and later when he returns home, to take care of fevers or other problematic situations.”
He said accommodation for the family in Berlin is difficult and costly. The transplant alone costs around €150,000 but Ebell said they receive significant support both psychologically and materially from the charity organisation ‘A Dream, A Wish’.
Ebell commended the preparation done in local hospitals before sending the patient to Berlin. “The preparation done for leukemia patients with chemotherapy is quite good and there is adequate equipment,” he says, adding however that “there should be more attention to hygiene”.
He also stressed the need for Cypriot doctors to go to Berlin for training because the families needed to be given sufficient explanations every step of the way.
The Cypriot embassy in Berlin was, he said, very supportive of the families, and the Karaiskakio Foundation in Cyprus undertakes the whole process if a patient needs a transplant.
Ebell said the number of children who need bone marrow transplants in Cyprus was within the normal range. The transplant success rate, he added, was around 80 per cent.
A transplant is usually done after chemotherapy and radiation is complete. (CNA)