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ADA member seeking bone marrow transplant starts treatment

August 09, 2017

By Michelle Manchir

An ADA member with a life-threatening disease that can likely be cured only with a stem cell transplant has started an alternate treatment in Seattle, his family said.


Family time: Dr. Kapil Vij, right, poses earlier this summer with his family, including his youngest son born in May.
Dr. Kapil Vij, 45, an Illinois-based dentist who was diagnosed earlier this year with a rare form of blood cancer, will receive a cord blood transplant in August, said his brother, Dr. Rajesh Vij, a dentist in Ohio. This treatment is the next best alternative to a stem cell match and transplant, which give him a chance for a cure from the cancer, myelofibrosis, said Dr. Rajesh Vij.

Dr. Kapil Vij has three children; his youngest son was born in May. He is a former faculty member in pediatric dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. He operates a dental practice in Mount Prospect, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, but has had to stop working entirely to focus on his health, said Dr. Rajesh Vij.

Dr. Kapil Vij is seeking a matching donor from the National Marrow Donor Program and his family is encouraging those 18-44 years old who are not already in the national registry to join by visiting https://join.bethematch.org/HOPE4KAPIL.  Dr. Kapil Vij is of South Asian (Indian) descent, and the pool of people from that ethnicity are underrepresented in the national bone marrow registry, Dr. Rajesh Vij said, making the need for others to join the registry vital.

Dr. Kapil Vij's family has set up a Facebook page with updates on his treatment, and, because he can no longer work, a fundraising page through The Bone Marrow Foundation. All donations are tax deductible and will go toward medical and treatment-related expenses.

The ADA News first reported about Dr. Vij's plight in May. Dr. Rajesh Vij said the support from the dental community since that publication has been "tremendous." On May 24, the ADA hosted a bone marrow drive in honor of Dr. Kapil Vij. More than 40 people signed up that day to join the national registry.

"It's a good feeling to know how the dental community has come together," said Dr. Rajesh Vij.

Dental professionals can get free swab kits for their dental offices from DKMS – We Delete Blood Cancer. Everyone swabbed is entered into the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry.  For more information, visit https://www.dkms.org/en/dental.

Dr. Rajesh Vij can be reached by email at Rvij1@hotmail.com.

The ADA urges members to support participation in the bone marrow matching program by providing appropriate literature in their offices, gathering samples and forwarding them for registration, according to a 2012 ADA House of Delegates resolution (Res. 162H-2012.)