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Hospital halves kids' leukemia care cost

(Shanghai Daily)

13:21, June 03, 2013

Careful use of medications and dosages has allowed staff at Shanghai Children's Medical Center to cut the cost of children's leukemia treatment about in half, making such life-saving treatment more affordable, the hospital said.

The center's leukemia treatment for children holds the total cost between 80,000 yuan (US$12,903) and 120,000 yuan.

"Previously, leukemia treatment cost at least 200,000 yuan, which is not affordable to many Chinese families," said Dr Gu Longjun of the hospital.

The center, named the key laboratory for children's blood disease by the National Health and Family Planning Commission over the weekend, is the nation's biggest children's blood disease and cancer treatment center.

The leukemia plan has been adopted by the national health authority and is being promoted as a guideline for children's leukemia treatment nationwide.

The five-year survival rate, a measure of clinical recovery, is over 75 percent for leukemia patients receiving the treatment through a better combination and choice of medication.

Also, the Shanghai Cord Blood Bank announced yesterday that it has the nation's largest regional bank of umbilical cord blood, which contains stem cells similar to bone marrow. The cells can be used to treat people with leukemia and other immunity diseases.

Since its establishment nine years ago, the bank has collected about 40,000 samples of umbilical cord blood and half of them are kept in its public section, which is open for all patients to look for matched samples for transplantation.

The bank said it had offered 616 units of umbilical cord blood to 559 patients, most of who suffered leukemia, in the past nine years.

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