Success Stories: Robert Lopez-Lengowski
Robert Lopez-Lengowski was given three options for his acute myelogenous leukemia — do nothing, wait for a bone marrow match or try cord blood therapy. He was cured of his leukemia by a cord blood stem cell transplant.
When he was only nine years old, Robert was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. In the following months, Robert went through multiple chemotherapy sessions, and even received a bone marrow transplant – using his own cells that were “purified” and put back in his body. However, these treatments were ineffective, and Robert’s life was still in danger.
With approval from his pediatrician, Robert was admitted into the Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Kurtzberg, Robert’s oncologist, said the family had three choices – do nothing, wait up to six months for a matching bone marrow donor, or try stem cell therapy using cord blood.
Using cord blood from the New York Blood Center, Robert’s blood was checked for a matching donor, and two cord blood units were located using the NYBC’s National Cord Blood Program. Both of these units were available within the next several days, and Robert’s family received a donated unit within a week.
While neither of these donated units were a perfect match, the biggest benefit of cord blood is that mismatched donors often work just as well as a matched bone marrow transplant. This means patients looking for cord blood stem cells usually have a much larger pool of candidates.
After a successful transplant, Robert spent some time in recovery, and then returned to his normal life. Months later, he was playing soccer, spending time with his family and living a healthy life. He was pronounced cured by his doctors.
National Cord Blood Program