DAVID GRANOVSKY

Chicago Woman Cured of Sickle Cell Disease

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on June 20, 2012 at 11:14 pm
Chicago Woman Cured of Sickle Cell Disease

Posted: June  18, 2012 by Sherri McGinnis Gonzalez

Chicagoan Ieshea Thomas is the first Midwest patient to receive a successful stem cell transplant to cure her sickle cell disease without chemotherapy in preparation for the transplant. University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System physicians performed the procedure using medication to suppress her immune system and one small dose of total body radiation right before the transplant.The transplant technique is relatively uncommon and is a much more tolerable treatment for patients with aggressive sickle cell disease who often have underlying organ disease and other complications, says Dr. Damiano Rondelli, professor of medicine at UIC, who performed Thomas’s transplant.

The procedure initially allows a patient’s own bone marrow to coexist with that of the donor. Since the patient’s bone marrow is not completely destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation prior to transplant, part of the immune defense survives, lessening the risk of infection. The goal is for the transplanted stem cells to gradually take over the bone marrow’s role to produce red blood cells — normal, healthy ones…

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