Monday, June 08, 2009

Mixed Race Boy Needs Stem Cell/Bone Marrow Transplant

Seven year old Lucas Blake has a blood disorder called Fanconi anemia, in some ways similar to leukemia. the disease prevents his bone marrow from making new blood cells. (CTV's story)

A bone marrow or stem cell transplant gives a patient great hope, if, there is a good match found. There is a 25% chance that a sibling is a match. The larger the family the greater the odds. However, Lucas' case is much more rare. His newborn brother was found not to be a match.

His dad is of Jamaican descent and his mother is of Portuguese descent. That makes finding a match more difficult because the best chances of finding a stem cell donor is within your own ethnic group.

It's a long shot but if there is anyone out there with a similar ethnicity, contact OneMatch (1-888-236-6283), a stem cell and bone marrow donor registry.
Most of the people on Canada's stem cell and bone marrow registry, OneMatch, are Caucasian; a full 83 per cent. Only 0.5 per cent are black. And only 0.13 per cent are multi-ethnic.


Anonymous said...

Why can't he get an autologous transplant?

Charlie said...

Hi anon, that's a good question, and not being a physician myself, I can only offer a general answer. First, I do know that autologous transplants can be the best options for certain types of blood diseases like myeloma, but not for others like leukemia. I've read that autologous transplants also means you are more likely to have a relapse. That is because your own marrow or blood may still contain some of the cancer cells you are trying to get rid of. Cells from another donor may work better at attacking any leftover cancer cells still in your body.

Also, just did a quick scan of some research on this, and transplant treatments mentioned allogenic transplants from related or unrelated donor matches, and did not mention autologous.

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