First 'saviour sibling' stem cell transplant performed in UK

Topic Selected: Cloning and Stem Cells

General Article icon Type: General Article

By Jay Stone


A life-saving tissue transplant from a ‘saviour sibling’ has been carried out entirely in Britain for the first time. Nine-year-old Megan Matthews has a condition called Fanconi anemia, which leaves her body unable to fight infection, and she requires a blood transfusion every few weeks. The only hope of a cure for Megan was for her to have a bone marrow transplant from a matched donor. Tests on her older brother Stuart showed he was not a match and the bone marrow register also had no success.
If Megan’s parents conceived another child naturally they only had a one in four chance of having a child that could donate tissue, and they also faced the possibility of having another child with the same condition. So Mrs Matthews underwent IVF treatment, resulting in two embryos that were free of the condition, and a match for Megan was implanted by CARE Fertility in Nottingham.
Baby Max was born on 22 July 2009 and stem cells from his umb

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