06 April 2018

Adult cured of sickle-cell disease by stem cell transplant

The recipient was fortunate to have an HLA-perfect-match donor:
An Edmonton woman who received donor stem cells from her sister during a procedure in Calgary last year has been declared cured of her sickle-cell disease and health officials believe Revée Agyepong is the first adult in Canada to be cured of the disease through this method...

“When Revée approached us, we had coincidentally been thinking about adult stem cell transplant for sickle-cell disease based on the remarkably good outcomes that Alberta Children’s Hospital has been seeing with transplants in the pediatric population,” explained Dr. Daly in a released statement. “She met all the necessary criteria in terms of being able to tolerate a transplant but, most important, she had a sibling who was a 100 per cent match.”

The procedure proved successful but there are concerns as her immune system will remain compromised as a result of the anti-rejection drugs. The side-effects are expected to persist for another year.

On Tuesday, blood tests confirmed the 26-year-old was sickle-cell disease free.

"Over the past few months, what we've seen is that Revée's sister's bone marrow has taken over the production of Revée's red blood cells," said Dr. Daly. "The amount of sickle-cell hemoglobin in her bloodstream has decreased almost to zero."
Anyone who has ever seen a sickler in crisis, with excruciating pain in every bone in their body from no fault of their own, will appreciate what an absolutely awesome event this is.  I have a family member who received stem cells to treat scleroderma, and spoke this week to a woman whose son received intraarticular stem cells to try to reverse degenerative arthritis.  Macular degeneration, ALS, and other "incurable" diseases are being studied.  Amazing.

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