Thanks to those of you who came out on Sunday, July 29th, to the “Cure for Kethan” Bone Marrow Drive to “get swabbed,” hoping to be a bone marrow donor match for Kethan or another patient. We were able to register 359 new bone marrow donors. Incredible!
So what’s going on with Kethan now?
In June, after his second relapse with leukemia (ALL), Kethan went to Houston to participate in a clinical trial with a new drug to see if it could get his cancer in remission so that he would then become eligible for a bone marrow transplant.
Thankfully, Kethan responded very well to the targeted gene therapy (i.e. monoclonal antibodies) and he achieved remission in a short period of time. The doctors were pleased with Kethan’s response to the monoclonal antibodies and were optimistic about the success of a bone marrow transplant.
Meanwhile, “Team Kethan” was searching for the perfect bone marrow donor match. This quest for a perfect match led to the “Cure for Kethan” Bone Marrow Drive on July 29 in Austin, in hopes of finding a bone marrow donor match for Kethan and for other leukemia patients. We’re so thankful for the 359 donors who “got swabbed” and joined the bone marrow registry.
Because there was no available perfect matching donor for Kethan in the bone marrow registry, and time ran out to find one, the doctors could not delay the bone marrow transplant any longer. The doctors decided to proceed with the transplant using Kethan’s mother as the stem cell donor (a “haploidentical related donor” in medical jargon).
While his mom is not a perfect match (but perfect in most other respects!) the doctors in Houston have figured out how to improve patient outcomes with “haplo” donors by transplanting T-cell depleted peripheral blood stem cells, as well as implementing other therapies.
Kethan finished his pre-transplant preparatory regimen last week of intense-but-short chemotherapy and total body irradiation, to ensure that no remnant cancer cells remained.
The transplant took place this past Friday, August 10th. Kethan is doing well and has a lot of time on his hands! The next 30-days are critical since this is the time when engraftment of the transplanted stem cells takes place.
I’m crossing my fingers for my little buddy and the growth of his brand new bone marrow!
For more updates, check out Kethan’s Facebook page.