In an attempt to save 2-year-old Caden Ledbetter, who is suffering from a rare cancer called neuroblastoma which attacks the nervous system, doctors at Medical City Dallas Hospital are using stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood for treatment.
The cancer damaged the cells in his bone marrow, bones, and liver. Doctors are hoping that the stem cells extracted from cord blood, which is Camden’s own and was saved and banked upon his birth, will replace the damaged cells.
Transplant doctors are increasingly using umbilical cord blood as a source of stem cells according to research from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The cord blood derived cells , which are a type of adult stem cell, are ethical — unlike embryonic stem cell extraction, where an embryo must be destroyed in the process. Additionally, embryonic stem cells have never successfully treated a human, even in trials.
Caden is one of thousands of patients being treated with adult stem cells. Recent years have seen remarkable advances in adult stem cell treatment and research.