Kanika Juneja was diagnosed with MS — an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system starts attacking the protective sheet covering the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
She went through several rounds of treatments but could not be cured. Juneja got another chance at life at Fortis Healthcare where the doctors treated her with BMT.
"In an autologous BMT procedure, the healthy stem cells from the patient are taken out and preserved.
Chemotherapy is then administered to reset the body's immunity and then the stem cells are injected back to rescue the person from the side effects of chemotherapy. After the surgery, the patient is kept under isolation for a few months to ensure he/she does not contract any infection," explained Dr Rahul Bhargava, Director, Clinical Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI).
Since conventional steroid injections and immune therapy are expensive and don't promise a cure, Bhargava thought of going for a BMT for Juneja.
Juneja is now actively involved in raising awareness about MS amongst the community through social media.
"I had just completed my college education when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I was lucky because I got diagnosed within a week of my symptoms and could avail treatment options faster," Juneja said.
"In this case, we have proved that bone marrow transplant can be seen as a successful alternate treatment option for multiple sclerosis patients, giving them a fresh shot at life," added Dr Simmardeep Singh Gill, Zonal Director, FMRI, in a statement.
Currently, there are 2.3 million people living with multiple sclerosis worldwide.