(WFRV) -- Leukemia and Lymphoma are just a couple of the life-threatening diseases marrow transplants can cure. But a new alternative could change everything.
Suffering from leukemia, Izzy Diaz-Tous needed a marrow transplant. It wasn't the perfect match, but it was the perfect solution to save his life.
Izzy was diagnosed with AML, a type of leukemia. Doctors gave him six weeks to live. "I've always been a fighting spirit and I said this will be a new challenge for me," Izzy said.
His only hope for a cure was a marrow transplant. But, like 70% of others needing a one, Izzy couldn't find a matching donor in his family.
He turned to the national bone marrow registry. But out of 11 and a half million people, there wasn't a single match.
It's something Doctor Ephraim Fuchs of Johns Hopkins University wants to change.
But results from a recent national trial show by giving a patient chemotherapy three days after the transplant, patients can use a donor who is half matched. That means the marrow is half-identical to the patient's tissue type.
"All parents, biological parents are half-matched, all children of the patient are half-matched," said Doctor Fuchs.
Treating blood cancer is only the beginning. "Potentially, we could be treating every patient who has aids or sickle cell disease or even autoimmune disease," said Doctor Fuchs.
As for Izzy, his son Alex was a half-match, and their marrow transplant was a success. Now, Izzy is cancer free and life isn't half bad.
Half-match marrow transplants are now being done at large medical centers all across the country.
Plans are underway for a four-year randomized trial for the transplants in early 2012.
If you'd like to become a donor, go to our website wearegreenbay.com for a link to the marrow donor registry.