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August 25, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Cord 'lifeline' for dying boy

THE family of an 11-month-old Shanghai girl has given new hope to a seriously ill boy in the city's neighboring Jiangsu Province by donating her umbilical cord blood which had been stored for private use.

Her 30 milliliters of cord blood was delivered to Jiangsu and transfused into Zhou Yinbao, 6, yesterday to treat the leukemia that is attacking his bone marrow and blood.

The effects of the transfusion will be known in a month.

It is the first time that a sample from Shanghai Cord Blood Bank's private section has been donated for public use since it began to promote the practice in late 2007.

About 1,000 families have signed participation agreements.

The bank is the first of seven such facilities on China's mainland to provide the public service in an effort to make full use of cord-blood supplies to help more patients.

Zhou suffered from repeated bouts of fever early this year and was found to have ineffective production of blood cells, causing leukemia.

A stem-cell transplant is the most effective remedy for the condition.

The Huai'an No. 1 People's Hospital where Zhou is a patient decided to give discounts on his treatment after learning his father is disabled and his mother mentally ill.

The whole family depends on the boy's 82-year-old grandfather.

People in Jiangsu donated about 100,000 yuan (US$14,641) to help cover his medical bills.

"We received a call from Zhou's doctor last month, saying they found a matching sample in our bank," said Shen Yihua, a bank official.

"Zhou was in critical condition with acute leukemia. If not treated, he could die in three months."

The bank contacted the Shanghai family, who agreed to the donation.

Under the agreement, the bank informs parents and asks if they are willing to donate cord blood.

If they agree, parents can recoup all expenditure on collection, processing, testing and storage and have preferential privileges in obtaining a sample in the future.


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