HealthWatch (WFRV) -- One person in the US is diagnosed with blood cancer every four minutes. Chemo and a bone marrow transplant helps fight off the disease, but thousands of those diagnosed each year cannot find a matching donor and surviving without one is almost impossible, but now a solution may be coming from a surprising place.
From making the bed to making music, Jessie Quinn has a shadow ready to learn just about anything her mom can teach her. It was little Luna who gave her mom the motivation to fight when Jessie was diagnosed with leukemia.
"That was the first thing that went through my head actually. It was, ah, you know, I wanted to be able to see Luna grow up," leukemia patient, Jessie Quinn, told Ivanhoe.
Doctors could not find a bone marrow match for Jessie. That's when she became patient number one in a clinical trial using cord blood stem cells from the placentas of newborn babies.
"Now we know that cord blood, which is generally thrown away as medical waste, also contains these blood forming cells," Colleen Delaney, MD, associate member at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, told Ivanhoe.
The stem cells taken from the cord blood are transplanted into the patient. Those stem cells replace the diseased blood and immune system and wage war against the cancer.
"Not only do their white blood cells come faster, but they also don't get the same side effects from the chemotherapy," Dr. Delaney said.
Most importantly, cord blood stem cells do not have to be a perfect match for the patient.
"We have a bank of these cells that can be used for any patient," Delaney explained.
Jessie is now in remission. The stem cell transplant has given her more time to teach Luna more about life.
"I was just glad there was another option," Quinn said.
Dr. Delaney is beginning a new multi-center clinical trial using cord blood stem cells for cancer patients. For enrollment information and study locations go to: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01690520.