Australian doctors are pioneering a new cancer treatment for children who cannot find a compatible donor for a bone marrow transplant. The procedure involves giving a double donation of umbilical cord blood.
When nine-year-old Brad Hubbard was diagnosed with leukaemia, doctors could not find a suitable match for a bone marrow transplant, so they decided to try something never attempted before in Australia.
They gave him donations of blood, harvested from the umbilical cords of two new-born babies.
“It’s not clear why two is better than one but it clearly is,” Professor Marcus Vowels, from the Australian Cord Blood Bank, said.
The blood contains stem cells which help rebuild bone marrow destroyed by cancer treatments.
After a world-wide search, Brad received donated blood from a baby girl in Australia and a baby boy from Europe.