Emirati boy Zayed's life-changing stem cell transplant

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Emirati boy Zayeds life-changing stem cell transplant

Dubai - Today, Zayed is completely free of the disease and now lives like any normal, healthy child.


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Wed 23 Jan 2019, 9:30 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Jan 2019, 11:32 PM

Five years ago, Zayed, an Emirati who was then seven years old, had a reason to be thankful to his younger brother who had donated cord blood cells to save his life.

Zayed was born with the condition 'beta thalassaemia major', the most severe form of the life-threatening blood disease that requires a blood transfusion every two weeks. The only known cure for it is a stem cell transplant.

Today, Zayed is completely free of the disease and now lives like any normal, healthy child.

"The child's condition was deteriorating fast and the family was given their last chance of hope, thanks to the umbilical cord blood storage of Zayed's younger brother Mohammed," said Mai Ibrahim, COO of CryoSave Arabia.

Zayed and Mohammed's parents had taken the decision to store their younger son's cord blood with CryoSave in Dubai Healthcare City, during the birth of Mohammed at Corniche Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

The transplant was carried out at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, in conjunction with CryoSave Arabia, where the sample was stored and shipped. This transplant is said to be the first privately stored stem cell transplant from the UAE to the US.

Zayed has made a full recovery and no longer suffers signs of the disease, nor does he require the regular monthly blood transfusions. "Our son is in much better condition after the transplant, it has been remarkable," said Nouh Alhammadi, father of Zayed.

"Stem cell storage is so valuable even though it is something that you hope you will never need, like insurance. In our case, we did need it and we are incredibly glad we made the decision to store the cord blood in the first place, otherwise our family's future would be very different," he said.

Blood, immune and metabolic disorders are among the several diseases that can be treated through stem cell transplant.

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