Flavio Lopes Ferraz’ life was saved by the same source that nurtured his children in the womb.
A patient of Marcos de Lima, M.D., professor in the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, Ferraz was diagnosed with acute lymphoid leukemia in early 2006.
Since no family donors surfaced, and no matches were found in the marrow bank in Brazil, Ferraz was not a candidate for either a bone marrow or a peripheral blood transplant. So after eight months of chemotherapy, the commercial attorney received a cord blood transplant.
Cord blood rich in blood-forming cells
Cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby is born. The blood, rich in blood-forming cells, is tested, frozen and stored at a cord blood bank for future use.
“Cord blood allows us to use donors who are not as well matched as those for bone marrow or peripheral treatments,” de Lima explains.
Ferraz responded well to the transplant. Moving forward, he and his wife, Karina, decided to start a family. Ferraz had banked sperm before his chemotherapy treatments began, and they opted for in vitro fertilization. Triplets, two boys and a girl, were born in March 2010.
Shortly after his children celebrate their first birthdays, Ferraz will reach a milestone of his own — his fifth year of survivorship.