Mumbai child receives special injection to treat rare cancer

A toddler from Mumbai is the first child in the country to receive Dinutuximab immunotherapy to treat neuroblastoma – a rare cancer of the nerve cells. Diya Gala, a three-and-a-half-year-old girl from Andheri in Mumbai, received injections worth ₹1.35 crore on a compassionate basis at Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai.

Rajesh Deoji Gala and Kalpana Gala could not have understood why their second child, Diya, often cried. Noticing that she had become quite weak, they took her to a local doctor who prescribed drugs that gave her relief for some time. Later, a visit to a specialist confirmed her illness.

dr. Prashant Hiwarkar, a bone marrow transplant doctor at Wadia Hospital, said: “Diya was brought here with unresolved abdominal pain. An ultrasound showed a mass in her abdomen and a series of tests later determined that she had metastatic neuroblastoma. It is the second most common childhood solid tumor Symptoms include bone pain and a lump in the abdomen, neck or chest In India, children are treated with a conglomerate of therapy that includes chemotherapy, surgery, autologous stem cell transplantation followed by radiotherapy. Only 40% survive long-term term.”

dr. Hiwarkar added that a year after being diagnosed, Diya was given Dinutuximab, one of the new generations of drugs called immunotherapy. “It is used for those patients whose condition has not improved despite standard treatment.”

“Our world collapsed after the diagnosis. We have enlisted the help of several platforms to raise funds. But Wadia Hospital treated our daughter on a compassionate basis. For the past year, Diya had to be hospitalized continuously and spent about eight months in the hospital. Now she is slowly getting back on track. She has completed the first course and is getting the second course after 35 days,” said Mr. Gala.

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