The Nation Helps Save the Life of a Young Leukemia Patient
The dramatic search for a genetically matched cord blood unit for Hodaya brought to Israel’s awareness the importance and life saving potential of Cord Blood transplantations.
This nationwide effort began when Professor Reuven Or, head of Hadassah’s Bone Marrow Transplant department, asked ICBB to lead a campaign among the small but geographically dispersed Cochin community to find a matching cord blood unit to save Hodaya’s life.
Hodaya is a 24 year old woman from the Cochin ethnic community. In 2008 Hodaya was diagnosed with severe Leukemia. Since then there were extensive but unsuccessful efforts to find a matching bone marrow donor here in Israel and from among the world’s potential donor registers.
The particular genetic profile of Hodaya’s tissue type is especially rare, made up as it is of characteristics common to a number of ethnic groups. After a comprehensive search, doctors and tissue classification experts decided that the best chance of finding a match for Hodaya would be from a Cord Blood unit.
Led by ICCB, for the first time ever the media, Bedomaich Chayi and Magen David Adom public Cord Banks, the delivery rooms of 16 medical centers, and the Hadassah Medical Center genetic tissue typing lab, all joined forces in a nationwide campaign to locate pregnant women with a suitable genetic fingerprint. In less than two months, from the units gathered, not one but two genetically suitable units of Cord Blood were found for Hodaya.
Significance for the Future
This campaign not only helped save Hodaya’s life, it helped ensure the existence of Cord Blood units for use by any future Cochin patient, and it also set the blueprint and experience for any future campaigns to provide solutions for patients from other ethnic minorities.