David Pyne, who
is 60, was forced to consider alternative options after chemotherapy and
traditional blood transfusions failed. He was offered the therapy
using donated blood from the umbilical cords of two newborns, one in America
and one in France.
'Umbilical cord blood is very rich in stem
cells, which being so immature have phenomenal regenerative powers. These were
a great, alternative source of cells for David, in fact the only option, as
after a worldwide search he had no other available donor', said Dr Mike
Dennis, director of the haematology and transplant unit at The Christie hospital in
Manchester where Pyne was treated.
Pyne is one of
the first people in the UK to undergo an umbilical cord blood
transplant, although the procedure is available on the NHS. Six similar transplants
were performed at The Christie over the last year.
In the UK,
pregnant mothers in cities including London, Birmingham and Leicester can
donate their babies' umbilical cords and placentas to blood banks. Yet around 65,000
litres of cord blood were discarded last year, lowering
the chances of meeting potential transplant requests.
Central Manchester University Hospitals Trust may open a further cord blood
collection point. A spokeswoman told the Manchester Evening News: 'As part of
our commitment to deliver a unique range of services to the north-west, Saint Mary's Hospital is currently assessing the feasibility of developing a
cord blood collection centre here in Manchester'.
Cord blood can
be frozen and stored after collection, to be used when needed.
currently seen at the hospital as an outpatient on a weekly
basis. He told ITV News he was 'truly amazed when my doctor at The Christie
said we could use this option. To think two newborns saved an old man's life is
just marvellous and it's given me more time with my own grandchildren'.