Success Stories: Gayle Serls

In 1995, Gayle was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She had no treatment options until she received a cord blood transplant ten months after her initial diagnosis. At first, Gayle was told she would go through a bone marrow transplant using her own stem cells, but doctors decided the treatment was too risky.

Gayle sought out Mary Laughlin at Duke University Medical Center, and they decided to pursue a stem cell transplant using donated cord blood. She went through multiple treatments using chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and was finally injected with cord blood-derived stem cells. Days later, doctors found a small amount of healthy blood cells inside Gayle’s body.

Her blood cell count increased over the next several days, and then weeks, until she was released and allowed to return to her normal activities. Gayle has lived a healthy life since her successful transplant, and any additional side effects quickly disappeared after her treatment.

Serls was pronounced cured, and Laughlin eventually left Duke University Medical Center to start her own transplant program at the Ireland Cancer Center at University Hospitals of Cleveland, in Ohio. Laughlin also participated as an author for the New England Journal of Medicine study on cord blood – one of the most important studies for umbilical cord cells ever released.

Umbilical cord stem cells treat over 80 diseases, with more therapies found every year. Read more about these valuable cells here.

National Cord Blood Program