Umbilical cord blood from younger siblings used for a hopeful recovery of the elder
A 19-year-old man with a serious blood disorder received an umbilical blood transfusion from his younger sister on Wednesday, with the hope he can achieve full recovery.
The Shanghai Cord Blood Bank said it was the third recent case in which umbilical cord blood from a younger sister or brother was used to treat an older child of the family.
The young man was diagnosed with thalassemia, a serious genetic blood disease that affects the physical presentation and composition of hemoglobin in the blood, when he was about six months old and he has undergone treatment since then. The only cure for such patients is a stem cell transplant.
The umbilical cord blood of the younger sister, who was born in 2017, was stored at the Shanghai Cord Blood Bank. It was tested and found to be a full match for her brother.
After detailed preparation and planning, the elder brother received a transfusion of the umbilical blood, which contains stem cells. It will take two to three weeks to determine whether the transfusion is successful or not, doctors said.
Officials from the blood bank said half of siblings might achieve a half match and one fourth of siblings could match fully.
The other two cases involve an older brother who received his younger brother's umbilical cord blood to treat the older brother's serious thalassemia in November last year, and an older sister who received her younger sister's cord blood to treat aplastic anemia in April. Both transfusions were successful and the patients regained proper blood functions.
The Shanghai Cord Blood Bank said it has completed over 6,500 cases of stem cell transplant so far. The five-year survival for patients is over 60 percent, which is in line with international standards.