New treatment through stem cell transplant for Sickle cell anemia

Sickle cell anemia is a form of anemia in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen throughout your body. General symptoms include fatigue and joint pain with periods of intense pain that can last either hours or weeks.

Revee Agyepong, a 17-year-old from Edmonton, Canada, suffered from sickle cell anemia with symptoms of chronic bone and joint pain, irregular heartbeat, kidney stones and shortness of breath.

“I thought that everyone would go out for recess and play, then come back with a terrible headache and body pain, couldn’t breathe … eventually I realized it was just me” says Agyepong.

The Alberta Children’s Hospital was successfully treating sickle cell disease in pediatric patients using stem cell transplants but had never before utilized this treatment on adults. According to Alberta Health Services, “The older the patient and donor in bone marrow transplants, the greater the risk of graft versus host disease, which is a type of immune rejection that can have serious health repercussions and can even result in death.”

Agyepong’s older sister couldn’t just sit by while her sister suffered. Through research and testing, it was discovered that Agyepong was a 100% bone marrow match to her sister. After transplanting the healthy bone marrow/sickle-cell-free stem cells into Agyepong, she was cured of the disease. Her sister’s healthy stem cells have taken over the sick ones, leaving Agyepong feeling better than ever. Read the full article.

Sickle Cell Disease is treatable with stem cells derived from either bone marrow or cord blood. Learn more about all of the diseases currently being treated with cord blood stem cells.