Doctors At Fortis Hospital Bannerghatta Road Restore The Vision Of A 3-Year-Old Infant Diagnosed With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Multi-specialty intervention proves effective in treating a rare blood cancer

Doctors at Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore successfully restored the vision of a 3-year-old female infant from Dubai, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), a rare form of blood cancer, which resulted in loss of vision in both eyes.  A team of doctors led by Dr Mangesh P Kamath (Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology and Haemato-Oncology), Dr. Neema Bhat (Senior Consultant – Haematology, Paediatric Oncology and BMT) and Dr. Vivek Bhaskar- Senior Consultant-Ophthalmology at Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road evaluated the case, and drew up an effective treatment plan, keeping in mind the age and challenges in the patient’s condition.

The patient was under treatment at another hospital when she began losing vision in both eyes. Despite seeking medical opinions from international experts, her condition continued to deteriorate. She was then presented to the Fortis Cancer Institute and after a through medical evaluation at the hospital, doctors started the initial round of treatment with IV chemotherapy and the latest form of immunotherapy which are called BiTE Monoclonal antibodies. However, her vision did not improve, and she did not respond to the treatment. Considering her age, the doctors were not in favour of using radiation therapy as the treatment modality for her. They felt a bone marrow transplant would be the correct course of treatment.

Dr Neema Bhat – Senior Consultant- Haematology, Paediatric Oncology & BMT, Fortis Cancer Institute, Bangalore, “We developed a novel treatment plan with ophthalmologist, Dr Vivek. The baby received chemotherapy injection into the eyes, and after 3 doses of chemo, she regained complete vision in the right eye. Post treating her vision, we went ahead with Immunotherapy and her leukaemia was in remission. Luckily, she had a fully matched sister from whom she underwent bone marrow transplantation and she tolerated it very well. At present, it has been two months since the BMT, and the baby is leading a normal life today.”

Dr Mangesh P Kamath- Senior Consultant – Medical Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, explained, “When we saw this cute girl with refractory blood cancer, we took up the challenge. We tapped into our international experience and latest research to devise a treatment strategy which fortunately worked to not only control her blood cancer but also to regain her vision. BiTE immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment of ALL today; BiTE targets the blood cancer cells specifically without causing much side effects. The child is currently free of blood cancer and is able to see clearly much to the delight of her parents. Seeing her parent’s joy on the results and to get her own hand-drawn wishes to us on National Doctors’ Day has certainly made the results immensely gratifying.

Dr. Manish Mattoo, Zonal Director, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road said, “The patient’s age was a big challenge despite which our doctors, employing a multidisciplinary approach, carried out the procedure successfully. At Fortis Hospital Bannerghatta Road, we have always kept patient-centricity and consistent innovation at the core. This has helped us become a leader in innovative surgeries and a provider of responsible healthcare in the city.”

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells. Several children have residual leukaemia cells in their bone marrow even after they receive intensive treatment. In these cases, the disease is referred to as being relapsed/’refractory’ (or ‘refractory ALL’).

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