A three-year-old boy suffering with the life-threatening condition aplastic anemia received a stem cell transplant from his one-month-old sister’s umbilical cord blood yesterday at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, making her the youngest donor of such a kind in the city.
Aplastic anemia occurs when the body stops producing enough new blood cells, resulting in a higher risk of infections and uncontrollable bleeding. The boy, called An’an, was diagnosed with the most serious type of the condition in August and required stem cell transplant, according to a Shanghai Daily report. An’an’s father has hepatitis B, and his mother was pregnant at the time, so neither of them were suitable candidates.
The boy was scheduled to receive a donation from a matched volunteer through the Chinese Marrow Donor Program, but the volunteer backed out just 10 days ago.
When An’an’s mother gave birth to a baby girl in October, doctors told her to save the umbilical cord, which contains stem cells and offers a one-in-four chance of a match. After her cord blood was sent for testing, it was found to be a complete match to An’an.
“The umbilical cord blood became the boy’s only chance to survive. If he didn’t receive a transplant, he could have died at any time,” SCMC’s Dr. Chen Jing said in the report.
He added that the procedure went smoothly but it would take three to four weeks to determine whether it was completely successful.
[Image: Wang Rongjiang via Shanghai Daily]