Stem Cells succesfully combat rare genetic defect

In what is thought to be a world first, a baby in China has successfully received umbilical cord blood to combat a rare genetic defect.

The baby was six months old when she received the umbilical blood stem cells earlier this year at the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai. 

Now 10 and a half months old, baby Zhao Jiaxin has recovered well and is due to leave hospital this week.

“There’s no report of umbilical cord blood being used for patients with inflammatory bowel disease with IL-10 RA defect, which the girl was diagnosed with, across the world so far,” Zhai Xiaowen, director of the hospital’s hematology department told local media.

“Most reports about the treatment of the disease have been through bone marrow transplantation.

“Compared to bone marrow transplantation, umbilical cord blood injections don’t do any harm to the donor and use the precious blood that is discarded after a woman gives birth,” she said.

Umbilical cord blood contains blood-forming stem cells which have proved valuable in treating immune deficiencies and malignant blood ailments.

When she was one week old, Zhao Jiaxin suffered severe diarrhea with fever, vomiting and inflammation.

Treatment at local hospitals were unsuccessful so her parents took her to the Shanghai hospital where she was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease caused by a genetic defect.

Umbilical cord blood stem cells would be the only option to try to control the disease and fortunately for the family, the hospital found a blood match at the Shanghai Cord Blood Bank.

Baby Zhao Jiaxin no longer needs to get her nutrition supply by injection, and can drink 60-milliliters of infant formula milk once every two hours.

If you are interested in more information on storing your baby’s cord blood and tissue, please click here.

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