Elham, a 12-year-old girl from Isfahan, Iran, was diagnosed with the ALL form of leukaemia in 2014. Since then she underwent chemotherapy three times as the main treatment method, but it turned out to be all in vain. She was cured by a stem cell transplant from her baby sister’s umbilical cord blood that had been stored in Royan Stem Cell Technology Company.
“We found out about Elham’s problem two years ago.” her father stated in a 2016 interview. “It coincided with when we realised that her mother is pregnant and we were expecting another baby.” The physicians tried chemotherapy three times, but with no positive results and hence they decided to proceed with a bone marrow transplant as the next alternative. But no HLA type was found among immediate family members and relatives that was a match for Elham. When the parents found out that we were expecting a new baby, the physicians suggested they store the umbilical cord blood samples so that they could take advantage of the cord blood stem cells for transplantation.”
The father added: “Having given birth to our second baby, a girl called Fatima; we found out that her sample is a hundred percent match with Elham.” But there still came another barrier to overcome when tests revealed that the cell count collected from Fatima’s cord blood was not enough considering Elham’s weight which was 60kg at the time. As a consequence, the physicians’ committee rejected their request for transplantation with umbilical cord blood three times. At the end, it was decided to employ another technique known as double cord transplantation, in which a second cord blood sample would be added to Fatima’s. So exploiting this technique, in autumn of 2015 the transplantation was performed in Shariati hospital under the supervision of Dr. Hamidieh, using cord blood samples released from Royan Stem Cell Technology Company.
Right now, Elham is in a healthy condition and is following up her daily activities and school assignments to catch up with the rest of her peers. She too is surprised with this way of treatment and that her sibling could save her life.
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