‘She’s given me back my life’, teen thanks adult stem cell donor

A 13-year-old girl has thanked an anonymous donor for saving her life after a successful adult stem cell transplant.

Abbe Ferguson was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2019, but following the ethical treatment last year, the cancer is now in remission.

She said: “It’s difficult to find the right words to thank my donor. She’s given me back my life. I’m incredibly grateful to feel well again.”

‘Amazed’

Abbe initially underwent chemotherapy, but when tests showed that it was not working well enough, doctors suggested that her best chance of survival was an adult stem cell transplant.

A match was later found for her tissue type, and in June she was given the donor’s healthy cells after her own bone marrow was conditioned to destroy itself.

Abbe’s mother reflected: “They say it usually takes about two weeks for the transplant to work but I think it made a difference almost straight away. The doctors were amazed by how quickly Abbe’s counts went up, showing things were going in the right direction.”

Abbe returned home last August, and is currently preparing to walk the Race For Life for Cancer Research UK.

Breakthrough

Earlier this year, researchers reported that they believe they have found a way to undo some of the damage caused by motor neurone disease (MND) by using adult stem cells.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research were able to create and repair motor neuron cells under laboratory conditions, and the team believe they will be able to produce the same results in patients.

Unlike embryonic stem cells, adult cells do not require the destruction of embryos.

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