When pharmaceuticals, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation have not worked, bone marrow transplant (BMT) is the next step.

What it is all about 

Bone marrow is a primary organ producing new blood cells. When bone marrow is not producing enough new blood cells, it cannot be ‘repaired’ but new bone marrow can be transplanted. Transplant procedure looks very similar to blood transfusion, however tremendous work is behind the apparent simplicity.

If bone marrow donor is found among family – siblings are most frequent donors, virtually all transplantation costs are covered from the state budget.

However, every year about 40 children in Russia do not have a familial match. Since the registry of bone marrow donors in Russia cannot fulfill all the needs, searches in international registries must be carried out. Gift of Life works closely with one of Europe’s largest bone marrow donor registries – Stefan Morsch Foundation.

The costs 

The lengthy and meticulous search can cost up to £4,500 per child. Or more, if the search lasts longer – it could take up to a year. Bone marrow donors do not ask for payment but the procedure itself is expensive, close to £9,000 per procedure. This includes donor’s travel to the hospital, accommodation and other expenses, medical fees and insurance. The total cost of a bone marrow transplant is usually around £12,000. However, in cases, it is much higher. For instance, a donor for Maria Dyatlova was eventually found in the U.S. and total costs amounted to £20,000. A donor for Valeria Lee was found in Japan and the total cost was approx. £28,000.

BMT in Russia 

The main clinics where the procedure is carried out are Dmitry Rogachev National Research Center of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Immunology in Moscow, the Raisa Gorbacheva Institute of Children’s Haematology and Transplantology in St. Petersburg, Regional Perinatal Center CSTO number 1 in Yekaterinburg.

To put it simply, bone marrow transplants can save lives, which means your donations to Gift of Life are hope for children battling cancer.

MRI reference reviews by Doctor Monika Warmuth-Metz

As part of the international cooperation project, Gift of Life funds in-person and remote consultations with renowned radiologist Monika Warmuth-Metz. Dr. Warmuth-Metz works at the University Hospital of Wurzburg (Germany) – she is an expert in diagnosing brain tumours and changes/lesions of the central nervous system. She regularly consults patients of the Dmitry Rogachev Centre for Paediatric Haematology, Oncology and Immunology in Moscow.

Dr. Warmuth-Metz studies digital images (computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) or positron emission tomography (PET)) and consults as to which organs are affected, whether any changes occurred, and how those changes manifest.

Remote consultations are much cheaper – a one-hour online consultation costs the foundation £120.  This way we get top foreign experts to consult our patients when necessary.

Dr. Warmuth-Metz’s also comes to the Dmitry Rogachev Centre. Her visits are beneficial not just for patients but doctors too – they get to witness her approach to diagnosis and learn from her.

Two patients consulted by Dr. Warmuth-Metz

Matvey Kolos, 6 years old, Elektrostal (Moscow Oblast), medulloblastoma

Matvey got sick in spring 2014. The boy was diagnosed with a brain tumour and sent to the Centre for Paediatric Haematology in Moscow. Tumour has been removed surgically after that Matvey had several chemotherapy courses and radiation therapy. Follow-up MRT scan showed tumour remnants. Dr. Warmuth-Metz studied Matvey’s MRT and it has been determined that the best approach this time was not surgery but chemotherapy. Matvey is feeling well – he is in remission and goes to the hospital for check-ups and necessary therapy.

Daniella Nikitenkova, 12 years old, Golynki (Smolensk Oblast), medulloblastoma

Daniella has undergone brain tumour surgery twice. The first operation took place in Tyumen in 2014. However, tumour began to grow again in 2016 despite the surgery and treatment. Daniella came to the Centre for Paediatric Haematology for the second surgery. Dr. Warmuth-Metz studied the MRT images before and after the surgery – this helped doctors to determine further treatment Daniella needed. As of now, the girl receives the therapy she needs and is feeling all right.