Box 41 continued

proceeded to make all the different blood-cell types, including normal red blood cells without sickle cells.

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. Cord blood can be used to replace the cancerous cells later in the life of the donor, but in an unusual twist, cord blood can even save the life of the donor's mother! Patrizia Durante was pregnant with her first daughter when she was diagnosed with leukemia. Her daughter was delivered premature, and Patrizia was aggressively treated with chemotherapy to rid her of her leukemia. Again, the traditional treatment is to look for matching bone marrow, but again her doctors could not find a match. So they used her baby's cord blood instead. Not only did the baby's stem cells start rebuilding her mother's blood, they also attacked the cancerous cells.

With these and many other successes, there is increasing interest in cord-blood banking. We can now make good use of blood that until recently was thrown into the garbage.

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