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Little Andrej first to be treated in Europe using his own cord blood

Clinic of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology at Bratislava Faculty Children’s Hospital, 2004
He was a little boy just like hundreds of others who are born. One of many boys for whom a childhood full of mischievous adventures and pleasures awaits. At least that’s what his parents dreamed of.Until the moment when they started to realise that something serious was happening. He was called Andrej and he was just three months old. The diagnosis sounded merciless – Medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumour. The parents were devastated. The premonition which the mother had felt every time the boy’s eyes curiously turned downwards had come irreversibly true. The doctors did not know the cause of this cruel disease, but knew with certainty that the tumour must be removed as quickly as possible. Only then would Andrej have hope of survival.
The boy fought through the seven hour struggle in the operating theatre. But it was only the first of the battles won. It was followed by heavy chemotherapy and radiation. Effective treatment with cytostatics and radiation came at an expensive price, damaged haematopoiesis (blood formation). The child’s life was threatened by the risk of infection, bleeding, and many other complications. It was impossible to prevent them. It was only possible to mitigate them. No matter whether we call it intuition, luck or in any other way, the important thing was that Andrej’s parents had chosen to have his umbilical cord blood stored after birth. At the moment when chemotherapy had mercilessly destroyed his blood formation and threatened Andrej’s life, there was an effective remedy. Transplanted cord blood restored the damaged blood cells of the child, and doctors could use sufficiently strong chemotherapy to prevent a return of the malignant disease. That’s how Andrej finally won his big battle.

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