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Stem Cell Treatment Effective Against Rare Form of Leukaemia


Sophie Edward (age 8), who has been suffering from a rare form of leukemia underwent stem cell treatment three months ago and is making progress.

Leukemia is a cancer that affects the blood cells and is unfortunately one of the more common cancers found in children.

Regular control mechanisms in the blood break down and the bone marrow begins to produce large numbers of abnormal white blood cells, disturbing the  production of normal blood cells and ultimately affecting the vital functions that these blood cells carry out.

Leukemia is also classified as either lymphoid or myeloid, depending on the type of white blood cells affected.  It’s also categorized as either acute or chronic, depending on the speed of progression.

Sophie was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia, called acute lymphoblastic leukemia in February of 2008 and has tried bone marrow transplant previously, but eventually her bone marrow transplant did not take and she and her family had no other way left but to relay on stem cell transplant.

The original transplant that had eventually failed, took place at St James’s Hospital, in Leeds, UK back in October.

Three months ago Sophie underwent a special type of stem cell treatment that was the first of it’s kind in Leeds.

Doctors used part of the original bone marrow left over from the previous transplant, and it was transplanted unprepared (due to her being too ill and needing to be acted on immediately) and chemotherapy used to get rid of the cells she didn’t need.

According to Sophie’s mother, Emma Edwards of Newsome, Huddersfield, they watched carefully each day after the eight-year-old underwent the stem cell treatment three months ago, and after three months they are now very relieved as so far all the signs are good and she is starting to feel much better.

Almost all childhood leukaemias are of the acute form, meaning they progress rapidly.

Acute lymphoblastic (lymphoid) leukaemia (ALL) accounts for more than 80% of childhood leukemia cases.  It is the only form of leukaemia – and one of the few forms of cancer – that is less common in adults than in children.

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) accounts for most of the remaining cases.

Chronic leukaemias, which progress slowly, are very rare in childhood.

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) accounts for less than 3% of childhood leukemias

Chronic lymphoblastic leukaemia is very rare in children.

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