Schoolgirl with rare cancer in remission after transplant from newborn baby

Brave Sarah Marica, eight, received her diagnosis of the rare blood cancer at the tender age of four, when doctors told her family she had little hope of survival.

Initially diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in 2019, a disease affecting about 100 children and young adults in the UK annually, she was not expected to pull through.

Her mother, a staff nurse, shared how Sarah showed signs of recovery after her brother David donated his bone marrow. But each time, the cancer returned, leaving Sarah in a perilous situation with slim chances of survival.

Simona said: “She had to start chemotherapy immediately as her blood results were so bad, she could have died at any time. After finishing six months of chemotherapy in Bristol, she went into remission, and we were going back to a kind of normal life.

“That was in 2019, but in February 2020 the leukaemia returned. She had more chemotherapy and fortunately our ten-year-old son David, was a bone marrow match and donated this to Sarah, who had stem cell transplant and went into remission for 18 months”.

Sarah was then considered for the innovative cord blood stem cell transplant treatment, a trial conducted at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH).

With no other options left, Simona, 44, agreed to the experimental procedure for her daughter, fully aware that this was Sarah’s last resort.

The novel procedure involved a cord blood stem cell transplant using stem cells harvested from the placenta and umbilical cord of a newborn baby.

The addition of a series of white blood cell transfusions, known as granulocytes, bolstered Sarah’s cancer-fighting capabilities.

After an emotionally gruelling journey, Sarah now celebrates over a year in remission. Recounting her daughter’s inspiring journey with poignant words, Simona said: “Sarah has been through so much over the last few years, but she has been so brave.

“She has been my rock and she is such a cheerful, determined girl who loves school and playing with her friends.

“As a result of this research, Sarah is now fully enjoying life. She is my inspiration, and this treatment has given us all our lives back.”

Professor Rob Wynn, the director of the Paediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Programme at RMCH, hailed the “remarkable results.”

The study demonstrated that patients recovered more quickly when they received white blood cell transfusions after a transplant. These cells, particularly rich in cord blood, can effectively help them to combat the deadly cancer.

He said: “Sarah is one of five children from our trial who are alive and in remission as a result of this effective, experimental treatment.

“Without this clinical trial, it is unlikely that any of the children would still be alive.”

This article was crafted with the help of AI tools, which speed up’s editorial research. A content editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected].

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Source: Read Full Article