One in “Nine Million” Toddler Joey Finds Miracle Stem Cell Match
At six months old, Joey Ziadi was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, a rare blood disorder suffered by only 800 people worldwide. Joey is now two and has new hope thanks to the unlikely event of finding a matching stem cell donor.
Joey’s mum Kaisha Morris exclaimed her delight and wonder of finding a stem cell match after nearly a two-year long search.
The odds didn’t look great as Joey is one of only 125 people in the UK with the blood disorder, and one of only 800 people around the world.
“The phrase one in a million doesn’t apply to Joey, it’s more like one in almost nine million,” —Kaisha Morriss, mum of Joey Ziadi who suffers from the incredibly rare blood disorder, Diamond Blackfan Anaemia
Joey’s case was first publicised in 2014, causing hundreds of people to come forward to see if they could provide a match. The incredible news of finding one was broke by the Anthony Nolan Trust, which supported the campaign to find viable stem cells.
Ms Morris recollects being told the good news by her doctor shortly after a consultation about the results of tests on Joey’s liver:
“The doctor told me a match had come up – it was such a shock to hear…Now we’re waiting for his liver to heal up as much as possible and the transplant operation should take place early next year.”
The Search For A One in Nine Million Stem Cell Match
Diamond Blackfan Anaemia is a disorder of the bone marrow in which the body fails to produce red blood cells properly. In the short-term, this can largely be managed by blood transfusions, but over time the condition puts the patient at high-risk of a complete bone marrow failure, so Joey needed to find a long-term solution.
Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation — when stem cells from a donor are harvested and injected into the patient’s bone marrow — has proven to be one of the only ways to effectively treat the condition, and was, therefore, the driving force behind their search.
The first port of call is usually identifying family members who could provide a stem cell match. This is often troublesome as relatives can have dormant forms of disease. If this is the case, they’re immediately excluded as possible stem cell transplant donors.
The next best place for Joey’s family to look was the Anthony Nolan register. The UK-based trust helps as many as three people each day to find a match and also conducts world-class studies in stem cell research and transplantation.
Due to the nature of the disease, it wasn’t possible for Joey to use his own stem cells for recovery. This type of procedure is known as autologous stem cell therapy and is the ideal choice for treating a wide range of conditions and diseases of the body.
When possible, autologous stem cell therapy offers two significant benefits: not having to wait to find a viable donor, and not having to worry about complications like GvHD that cause the donor stem cells to start attacking your body’s own cells.
Contact us today to find out how you can help safeguard the health of your children by storing stem cells from their own baby teeth.