Helping children with Leukemia in El Salvador

Project location: EL SALVADOR, San Salvador
Project start date: June 2011 - Project end date: July 2012
Project number: 2011-11
Beneficiary: Fundación Ayúdame a Vivir Pro Niños con Cáncer


Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia is the most frequent type of cancer in childhood, the incidence of which varies depending on the area of the world studied. The differences in incidence of this disease are generally considered to be due to differences in the socio-economical level of the populations, with the incidence being higher in more developed countries and lower in developing countries because these countries have not had the infrastructure required to keep reliable records.
Flow cytometry is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis, classification, and monitoring of patients with ALL. Since 1998, because of the lack of medical equipment and specialised personnel in the country this procedure has to be done outside the country. At present the annual cost of the diagnosis, done in Guatemala, (260.00 US$ x circa 200 analysis per year = 52.000,00 US$) is entirely paid by the Foundation.
At the moment a project for diagnosis is being implemented. A private enterprise, Industria Promed, has donated a Flux Citometer to the foundation. The St Jude Children's Research Hospital of Memphis is training the Bloom's hospital staff to operate the medical equipment. Moreover, as part of the project the St. Jude Hospital has offered to supervise to the analysis results with the objective of validating the method. The HNNBB will provide human resources.

The turning point is given by the supply of the reagents necessary to carry out the diagnosis. The cost of buying the reagents for circa 200 analyses annually is approximately of 20.000,00 Euros. To create a funding for reagents will be of vital importance for the success of the project.

Goals of the project which received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation:
• Determination of the leukemia inmunofenotype within the Hospital Nacional de Niños Benjamin Bloom in San Salvador , El Salvador
• Supplying advance technology to the hospital
• Starting earlier the specific treatment of the leukemia
• Establishing quality controls
• Starting an instruction and research program
• Reducing the cost of analysis
• Equipping the hospital with the needed infrastructure
• Training the working team
• Analysis of the samples within the hospital
• Supervision of the analysis with the aid of specialists
• Diagnosis on the shortest time
• Establishment of strategies and treatment on the shortest time
• Creation of a instruction and research program
Population attended:
• All Salvadorian children suffering Leukemias

Immunophenotyping is often unavailable in countries with limited resources. The project of cancer diagnosis will provide a first step to a reliable diagnosis in El Salvador indispensable for the cure of leukemia.
The correct, prompt diagnosis and correct risk classification are essential for appropriate and cost-effective treatment of children with acute leukemia and it increases the probability of children survival.
It will also liberate funds actually use for the diagnosis, done out of the country, to continue with the rest of the foundation activities contributing to the efficacy of its agenda.


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