Asiri Group

News and Events

Asiri Group

News and Events

July 3, 2024

Celebrating a Decade of Bone Marrow Transplantation in Sri Lanka

10th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s First Bone Marrow Transplant Centre at Asiri Central Hospital

In June 2014, Sri Lanka's first allogeneic bone marrow transplant (BMT) was performed at the Clinical Haematology & Bone Marrow Transplant Centre at Asiri Central Hospital (ACH), marking a significant milestone in the nation's medical history. This life-saving procedure became accessible to many patients who could not afford to travel overseas for treatment. Asiri Central Hospital celebrates the 10th anniversary of this pioneering effort in June 2024.

The hospital's BMT team is led by Prof. Lallindra Gooneratne, Professor in the Department of Pathology, and Honorary Consultant Haematologist, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, and the Director of the Clinical Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant unit at Asiri Central Hospital since its inception. He, together with Dr. Ruwangi Dissanayake, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo and Consultant Paediatrician at LRH and a team of very dedicated nurses pioneered BMT in Sri Lanka. The initial BMT procedures were supported by Dr. Lawrence Faulkner and the Cure-2-children foundation from Italy, who provided hands-on training and virtual sessions. This BMT team at ACH now share their experience by way of training and mentoring start-up transplant teams in state hospitals, such as Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH) and Teaching Hospital Jaffna.

BMT involves replacing diseased bone marrow with healthy stem cells from a genetically compatible donor. Advances in BMT techniques now allow for transplants with just a 50% genetic match, making the procedure more accessible. The BMT unit at Asiri Central has also adopted and mastered this technique and has been performing such ‘haplo-identical transplants’ over the past few years. They have also been doing unrelated donor transplants, where stem cells from compatible donors in other countries such as India are flown to Sri Lanka and provided to the patient. BMT is a life-saving procedure for treating conditions like aplastic anaemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, certain leukaemias, lymphomas, thalassaemia, immunodeficiency disorders, and multiple myeloma. Over the past decade, the BMT unit has saved many lives and formed long-term relationships with patients and their families.

The unit also treats various blood and bone marrow cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma & myeloma by offering chemotherapy either as an ‘in-patient’ or ‘day-care’ service. Asiri Central is the only private hospital in Sri Lanka with a blood irradiator, essential for BMT and treatment of certain blood cancers. The Asiri Group also houses the only PET scanner in the private sector and provides radiotherapy, making it the only private hospital group in the country with comprehensive facilities for treating blood and bone marrow cancers. The BMT Unit at Asiri Central is accredited by the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, as a training facility for postgraduate trainees in Clinical Haematology. The team comprises experienced consultants in haematology, clinical haematology, paediatrics, adult medicine, transfusion medicine, nephrology, psychiatry, radiology, microbiology, radiation oncology, paediatric surgery, anaesthesiology, genetics, and intensive care. The nursing team, led by Sister Mahawatte, is very committed and experienced.

The decade-long experience of the BMT team at Asiri Central in handling diverse complications, combined with their dedication and the visionary leadership, forms the backbone of the oldest and most successful BMT unit in Sri Lanka.

Asiri Health Network

Six internationally accreditted, state-of-the-art hospitals and laboratories, committed to supporting you live your highest quality life, through the provision of leading edge, ethical healthcare solutions.


Our accreditations and awards reflect our commitment to patient safety, care and experience.