Sep 01 - Cord Blood Transplant for a Girl Fighting Cancer

Lucy Watters is a bubbly 6-year-old girl from Seattle who has experienced a very difficult start to life. She has been fighting a battle with leukaemia since being diagnosed in 2014.  Fortunately, Lucy will soon be able to access a cord blood transplant which may finally help her beat this deadly form of blood cancer.

Lucy has enjoyed a very active summer this year — swimming and performing gymnastics. She was able to do these thanks to a stem cell transplant she received from her father, who happens to be an exact stem cell match. Having a parent who is a perfect stem cell match is quite rare, with only 30% of people have a perfect match with any family member.

Unfortunately, after her busy summer, she relapsed once more. Doctors at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center told Lucy’s parents that one final treatment option remained — a cord blood transplant.

Cord blood transplants use the stem cells found in the umbilical cord of newborn babies. This material is collected after the baby is safely born using a cord blood collection process that is completely harmless to both mother and child.

Because cord blood contains very young cells, it is less likely to trigger an immune system reaction in the recipient. This makes it possible to have safe transplants even when there is only a partial match between donor and recipient.

The only downside of using cord blood stem cells is that the sample size is usually smaller. This can mean longer recovery times and higher cost.

The reason why Lucy’s leukaemia was hard to treat is that it has a genetic aspect. However, her parents and doctors are hopeful that her upcoming cord blood transplant will help her finally recover.

Source: Cord blood transplant offers hope to 6-year-old Seattle girl fighting cancer