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ACIBADEM HEALTHCARE GROUP TURKEY… A Lebanese child’s life saved by bone marrow transplantation

Rawan & Prof. Gülyüz Öztürk

14-year-old Rawan Al Nazer from Lebanon, who has been suffering from thalassemia ever since she was born, started a brand new life with a bone marrow transplant operation after a suitable donor was found in Turkey.

14-year-old Rawan Al Nazer from Lebanon, who has been suffering from thalassemia (Mediterranean anemia) ever since she was born, greeted her new life in Turkey through a bone marrow transplant operation after a suitable donor was found in the country. Upon being diagnosed with Mediterranean anemia while she was only 6 months old, Rawan began going through a very difficult period. An application was made to the International Tissue Bank for Rawan, who had to undergo blood transfusion every two weeks, but the search did not yield positive results.

Finding a donor was a big surprise

Just when Rawan had been driven to despair, she met Professor Gülyüz Öztürk, the head of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit of Acıbadem University Atakent Hospital who was visiting Lebanon for a congress, and her hopes were reignited. This was because a Turkish bone marrow donor was found for Rawan. 


Professor Gülyüz Öztürk states that they took a blood sample from Rawan for tissue typing procedures in an accredited laboratory in Lebanon and that the tissue typing on the blood sample was followed by a search in the database of TÜRKKÖK, leading to positive results and discovery of a suitable donor. 

Professor Öztürk has shared with us the following information on the transplantation process:

“Starting with a preparation stage, the bone marrow transplantation procedures proceeded with insertion of a catheter. We first tried to “reset” the bone marrow, which gave faulty output, through chemotherapy. In other words, we formed a settling and reproduction site for the bone marrow we would introduce. 

Beginning from -13 and moving towards 0, we then continued administering chemotherapy and preparatory medications as if bombarding the bone marrow and transfused the bone marrow stem cells of the donor to the patient on day 0. This transfusion is never in the form of simply opening up the bone and administering the stem cells to it; we deliver the cells directly to the heart through a catheter. As the heart continues to pump blood, the stem cells are distributed throughout the body.”


Professor Öztürk states that they did not come across any important problems for 7 days after the transplant and that the stem cells, which settled well between the 7th and 14th days, started to reproduce more and more. Noting that they took another bone marrow sample from Rawan on the 28th day, Öztürk said the following:

“The stem cells we detected in Rawan’s tissue were 100% those of the donor. Thankfully, we had no problems at all. We were able to send Rawan back home in the 6th month. Öztürk states that they established a connection with the doctor following up on Rawan in Beirut.


Walid Al Nazer, Rawan’s father, stated that he met Professor Gülyüz Öztürk at the congress upon recommendation from Rawan’s doctor and continued as follows: “We were very happy to find out that we had the chance to find a donor in Turkey. If we had known about this earlier, we would have come to Turkey sooner. My daughter was given a new life. I cannot possibly express how I feel.”

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