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Oncology Breakthrough – A first for SA

There is new hope for a chance of a cure for young cancer patients who do not have siblings with matching stem cells. In 2012, a seven week old baby boy from Kimberley was prepared for a stem cell transplant by the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital’s immunology team, led by Professor Brian Eley.

Stem cells were collected from the baby’s mother and the ground-breaking procedure was carried out at the transplant unit at Groote Schuur Hospital under Professor Nicolas Novitzky, assisted by our very own paediatric haematology-oncology team. This milestone was the first haploidentical stem cell transplant for a patient with primary immunodeficiency in South Africa. The baby returned to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital for post-transplant therapy and is now a thriving 10 month old.

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