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Rejected by donor, leukemia patient saved by mother

By Christine Cai (China Daily)

10:07, March 31, 2012

A leukemia patient who was twice turned down by a Shanghai stem cell donor recovered from the disease after receiving her mother's half-match stem cells and a unit of umbilical cord blood from Shanghai.

Jiang Jing, a 23-year-old Jiangsu Province native, left the transplant cabin at No. 1 Hospital affiliated with Suzhou University yesterday, fully recovered.

Jiang's saga was dramatic. She was diagnosed with acute leukemia on April 1 last year and was informed by the hospital that a full match donor was found in September. The transplant was scheduled for March 6 this year.

Jiang started to undergo therapy for stem cell transplant on February 24 to suppress her immune system, paving the way for the healthy stem cells from the donor, a Shanghai university student.

However the donor backed out on March 1. She agreed a second time to give a donation on March 5 but again backed away, this time leaving the hospital secretly at midnight after receiving an injection as preparation for the donation. There were reports that the would-be donor, who was not named, faced pressure from her family to forego the procedure.

Since medication had stopped Jiang's blood-forming function on March 6, she could survive for only seven days if not undergoing transplant. Doctors decided to transplant her mother's half-match stem cells and a unit of umbilical cord blood from the Shanghai Cord Blood Bank.

The umbilical cord blood, which had an 80 percent match to Jiang, was used to reduce rejection and streamline the transplant.

Though the incident had a happy ending, it has stirred wide discussion online as some web users accused the student of putting the patient's life in danger through her actions.

But health insiders said people must have the right to change their minds.

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