Significant advances have been made in understanding the biology of leukemia over the last few decades. This has translated to recognition of novel targets for therapy, novel therapeutic options and targeted therapy which have in turn significantly improved the clinical outcomes of patients with leukemia. Unfortunately, there is limited data and contribution from India in this area. The challenges of diagnosing, prognosticating and treating patients diagnosed with leukemia are complex in a predominantly self-paying system as exists in our country. Applying algorithms either for diagnosis, prognostication or treatment as established in a developed country may not be practical in our resource constrained environment. At our center we have constantly strived to redefine the standards keeping in mind the constraints we face but without compromising the care and clinical outcome of our patients.
The Department of Haematology at the Christian Medical College, Vellore is one of the largest centers in the country dedicated to the management and research of hematological conditions. We are a well-recognized tertiary referral center in this country for patients with leukemia. We see a large number of such patients every year and have state of the art facilities for the management of these conditions. We are actively involved in research in this area, we focus on innovative solutions to problems that are specific to our region and help develop strategies to address them in a cost effective manner. We believe that an active research program is central to help us to continue to achieve these objectives. Some of the strengths and reasons to consider our center for this proposal are:
- Large number of patients seen every year: We diagnose about 125-150 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), 125-150 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and about 100-125 patients with CML every year.
- Standardized algorithms are used for treatment of these conditions. Databases are maintained for all these conditions and capture all aspects of clinical, laboratory, toxicity and long term outcome profiles of these patients. This is central to all correlative studies, a number of which have been proposed in this project.
- Adequate core laboratory and animal facilities for pre-clinical studies.
- Largest allogeneic stem cell transplant program in the country for patients with leukemia.
- Dedicated personnel: Our biggest strength is the unique combination of dedicated physicians and scientists who work together in this unit to tackle these problems.
The details of the research work in different areas can be gauged by going through the individual scientists and physicians who work in this field in the department. As a clinical service we pride ourselves on being one of the most comprehensive treatment programs for leukemia in the country covering all aspects of diagnostics, treatment and post-treatment follow up in a systematic manner with the patient’s interest at the center of all decisions. Recognizing the immense financial challenges faced by our patients to meet the demands of treating these conditions we also have a dedicated team of social workers who help with generation of funds for the care of the patients.