Umbilical cord transplants saving lives


Amanda Canale doesn't take time with her daughter and niece for granted. She's just happy to feel good.

"I've been in the hospital, and I've been sick my whole life," Amanda said.

Amanda was born with a rare blood disorder that required daily shots.

"Basically, I have no white blood cells," Amanda said. "I have no immune system at all."

At 23, she developed leukemia and was given two weeks to live. She desperately needed a bone marrow transplant, but family members weren't matches. Her doctor suggested an umbilical cord blood transplant.

"The cord was a perfect match and it was available, so it was the right solution for her," Edward Agura, MD, Medical Director of Bone Marrow Transplantation, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, said.

Cord blood contains stem cells that regenerate. Mothers of newborns can save their child's own blood or donate it. More than 30,000 transplants have been performed worldwide. However, because the blood comes from a tiny newborn, there's not much of it.

"The cord blood is rare, precious and few, and yet is more potent in its ability to grow," Dr. Agura said.

Now, doctors at Baylor are treating patients by combining cord blood from multiple donors. They've found this increases the number of stem cells and provides faster recovery. Amanda's transfusion was from a baby whose mother donated six years earlier. The procedure completely cured her cancer and blood disorder.

See the rest here:
Umbilical cord transplants saving lives

Related Post