Thalassemia major: the history of Shanaya

Saved by stem cells only 3 months after birth, also thanks to her father’s blood

Shanaya was only 3 months old when she was diagnosed with thalassaemia major, a serious hereditary blood disease, which was unconsciously passed on to her by her parents, both of whom were found to be healthy carriers of the disease.

Thalassaemia major causes a decrease for hemoglobin useful for transporting oxygen in the blood when below normal levels. The treatment depends on the type and severity of the pathology: for those suffering from a serious disease, regular blood transfusions are often necessary, and occasionally a bone marrow transplant may be an option to consider. Complications related to this disease can include iron overload from transfusions resulting in heart or liver disease, infection and osteoporosis.

The doctors to whom the baby’s parents approached have recommended a stem cell transplant. Thanks to the decision they had made at the time of Shanaya’s birth, the couple was able to use the stem cells from their baby’s umbilical cord stored three months earlier.

In addition, the doctors advised Shanaya’s father to perform compatibility tests with his little girl so that he could also donate his peripheral blood stem cells. Fortunately, the little girl and her father were found to be perfectly compatible across the entire genetic lineage required for a stem cell transplant.

Your baby’s umbilical cord is an invaluable source of precious stem cells, which could represent a real opportunity to benefit in the future from cell therapies in development. Contact us now to find out how to store them with Nescens Swiss Stem Cell Science.

Source: https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/news/stem-cells-give-rebirth-little-shanaya