Curing Leukemia with Stem Cells

FRESNO, Calif.

Quentin Murray is a funny, energetic 8 years old. Hard to believe that just four years ago, he was living with excruciating pain every day.

"My legs would hurt every time I was standing up. I'd be saying, 'owe!'" Quentin Murray told Ivanhoe.

"He was totally healthy and then, all of a sudden, these mysterious aches and pains," Mary Webb Murray, Quentin's mom, said.

Weeks later, when Mary was three months pregnant, Quentin was diagnosed with a high-risk, potentially deadly leukemia. His best chance of survival was an experimental stem cell transplant.

"I just kind of decided I was going to believe everything was going to work out at that point, because I wanted Quentin to be saved," Mary said. "I wanted Quentin to still be with us."

Against all odds, baby sister Jory was a perfect match. That allowed Quentin to have what may be the first-ever human transplant of placenta-derived stem cells, which have a powerful anti-leukemic effect.

"Once the stem cells start growing and producing, it will make him have normal cells, and hopefully, get rid of his leukemic cells," Lolie Yu, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at LSU Health Sciences Center, explained.

Thanks to his baby sister, Quentin's cancer-free.

"I'm glad she saved my life because I would've died," Quentin said.

"He's completely healthy now. It's like he's never been sick," Mary said.

Now, with a healthy future ahead of him, Quentin's his old self again. The clinical trial with human placenta derived stem cells is ongoing as a collaborative effort between LSU and Celgene Cellular Therapeutics -- the company that collects and processes the stem cells. Although the transplant procedure is still considered experimental, researchers are encouraged by the results so far. MORE

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Leslie Capo, Media Relations
LSU Health Sciences Center
(504) 568-4806
LCapo@lsuhsc.edu

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