China Stem Cell Group staff are checking the information of the umbilical cord blood hematopoietic stem cell. (Ti Gong)
A 33-year-old local female leukemia patient yesterday underwent a successful surgery for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with the use of umbilical cord blood.
The procedure at Shanghai General Hospital took place after the hospital received the umbilical cord blood from the China Stem Cell Group, which had flown the blood from Xi'an, Shaanxi Province.
Yesterday's procedure was the 3,000th such transplant conducted with blood supplied by the China Stem Cell Group. Presently, the group works with more than 100 hospitals across China and is able to supply umbilical cord blood to about 800 patients in need of stem cell transplants every year.
In January, the female patient, surnamed Cao, suffered a persistent fever, her gums swelled and she had poor appetite. In May, she was found to have acute myelogenous leukemia, and later underwent five chemotherapy sessions. Although the treatment eased her symptoms, her life remained in danger.
With the help of the China Marrow Donor's Bank, Cao found a matching donor. But the prospective donor refused to take further blood tests or to donate stem cells.
Shanghai General Hospital later helped Cao to find hematopoietic stem cells from matching umbilical cord blood at the China Stem Cell Group. The group's branches in Shanghai, Chongqing, Shaanxi and Suzhou each delivered a sample, and Shaanxi's sample was found to be the best match for Cao.
Doctors said Cao's hematopoietic system would recover normal function soon.
Dr Wang Chun, director of hematology at Shanghai General Hospital, said the hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with the use of umbilical cord blood is one of the most effective ways to treat leukemia. It has been used to treat many illness, such as aplastic anemia.