Excerpts from an interview with Dr. Rahul Bhargava, Hematologist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon
Q.What role do stem cells play in cancer treatment?
A. Stem Cells have two options: there’s stem cell therapy versus stem cell transplant; however, stem cell therapy is not an option right now. Stem Cell transplant works in curing blood cancers like CML, CLL, and Multiple Myeloma that originates from stem cells.
Q.What role does bone marrow transplantation offer for cancer treatment?
A. Bone Marrow Transplant plays a key role in the treatment of acute myeloid cancer and most Bone Marrow Transplants provide a 60-70% survival rate for 5 years or more,
Q. Is the concept of storing stem cells a good idea for new parents?
A. That is an interesting question. This concept of stem cells utilization still seems like science fiction right now as storing your own child’s stem cells has not been proven as a complete cure. But I do feel that it good if one uses it in the form of public storage instead of just for one’s own kin as then it can be a source for stem cell treatments.
Q.Why did you choose to specialize in hematology?
A. I chose it because it’s a vibrant field which constantly has major technological breakthroughs. From immunotherapy to the discovery in 1897 that activated T-cells kill tumor cells. In 100+ years, this field has developed therapies and established itself as a frontier that helps save people.
Q.What are the common cancers which come under the purview of a hematologist?