Success Stories: Erik Haines

Erik Haines was diagnosed with Krabbe disease (Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy) when he was two years old after losing his brother to the same condition. Doctors were able to use stem cells from cord blood to cure him.

Although Erik’s case wasn’t as severe as his brother’s, doctors felt he should be treated as quickly as possible, since Krabbe becomes deadly in a short amount of time.

A stem cell transplant was the best option for Erik, but doctors couldn’t find any acceptable bone marrow donors. Bone marrow transplants – the standard for stem cell therapy – often require an exact match to be successful. Although cord blood transplants were a relatively new procedure at the time, a matching donor was found in the New York Blood Center’s stem cell bank. Unlike a bone marrow transplant, the cord blood cells were ready immediately, and came with fewer complications.

After his stem cell transplant, Erik was kept in the University of Minnesota Hospital for 26 days, until he was pronounced cured by his doctors. Because of his success, cord blood therapy is now a viable treatment for children with inherited metabolic diseases.

Umbilical cord cells treat over 80 diseases, with new therapies added every year. Find out more about the benefits of cord blood here.

National Cord Blood Program