Rare Blood Disorder Treated with Adult Stem Cells, Girl Remains Free of Disease

With the hopes of stabilizing her, a former Albuquerque girl afflicted with a rare blood disease has just undergone an additional infusion of donor stem cells. With her condition deteriorating, her family hopes the treatment will prevent the progression of the disease.

The infusion, called a stem cell boost, was administered to nine year old Kailee on August 30th.

“Now, we start the stressful waiting and watching again, hoping in three or four weeks Kailee’s (blood cell) counts will start to climb once more,” her father said.

Kailee suffers from a very severe aplastic anemia, a disease in which the bone marrow no longer creates sufficient blood cells. Doctors had pronounced her free of the disease after a second marrow transplant was performed in November 2000 at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

However, Kailee’s blood counts were decreasing and she was requiring more blood transfusions over the last five months.

Last weeks transplant came from the same donor as before. A perfect cell match that Kailee’s parents and doctors called a miracle, the donor is a physician from China.

She did not require an extensive hospital stay, nor did she need radiation or chemotherapy to kill off her own immune system since Kailee’s DNA is so closely matched with the donor.

“Instead, she received her stem cell boost as an outpatient and we were able to return home the same night,” said her father.

Her parents coordinated dozens of drives from the U.S. to China to find an ideal donor match. Her parents adopted Kailee from China as an infant.

A previous transplant was unsuccessful since the stem cells that were used were not a perfect match.

Kailee remains free of aplastic anemia but her doctors say a stem cell boost was necessary because of a “late graft failure” which causes her marrow to stop producing. The cause of the failure still remains unclear.

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