Rocker's stem cell transplant hope

Jim Keays and Russell Morris Source: Supplied

AUSTRALIAN rock legend Jim Keays has narrowly survived acute renal failure after a radical stem cell transplant he hopes will save his life.

Keays was diagnosed with multiple myeloma - a cancer of the blood's plasma cells - six years ago and has been battling the disease since.

Myeloma often attacks the kidneys and Keays had chemotherapy and was put on dialysis after seeing his kidney function drop to 5 per cent.

Early this year he had a transplant using stem cells harvested from his own blood.

But in radical, and still experimental, surgery, he recently received stem cells from an unknown donor - a man who does not even share Keays' blood group.

"There is a global register of stem cells donors, and the doctors told me they had found a reasonable match on it," the former Master's Apprentices' frontman explained.

All Keays, who turned 67 last month, knows of the donor is that he is 28 and from New Jersey.

When doctors explained the treatment Keays was told it was his "last roll of the dice".

"The alternative was to die," said Keays.

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Rocker's stem cell transplant hope

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