Saving Sabrina: double umbilical cord transplant

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --

From playing Uno to dancing with her sibling, you would never have guessed that just last year 15-year-old Sabrina Couillard was fighting for her life.

"I was getting really skinny. I was getting bruises everywhere," Couillard told ABC30.

She was diagnosed with leukemia.

"I just broke down (and) cried," Sabrina's mom, Marta Gonzalez told ABC30.

Her only hope for a cure was a bone marrow transplant, but doctors couldn't find a match from a family member. That's when her doctor, Kamar Godder, turned to an alternative stem cell source: the umbilical cord.

"We knew that when you give it to somebody who is heavier, a heavier child or adult it will not quote unquote take," Kamar Godder, MD, Pediatric, Hematologist/Oncologist, Miami Children's Hospital, told ABC30.

Couillard's doctor gave her a double umbilical cord transplant.

"Initially the thought was just to give more of (the) cells," Dr. Godder explained. "Eventually only one will take over, that's the interesting thing."

Dr. Godder says that earlier studies have shown that cell count is the most important factor after degree of match for succesful transplant.

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Saving Sabrina: double umbilical cord transplant

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