Brave Nathaniel Nabena smiles from his hospital bed moments before a life-saving procedure.
The nine-year-old had a vital stem cell transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital on Wednesday after Sunday People readers helped raised more than £215,000.
Nathaniel, battling acute myeloid leukaemia, was on a drip for 30 minutes as umbilical cord stem cells were fed into his body.
Afterwards, dad Ebi said: “Nathaniel is very happy. It was amazing to finally get to this point we have all been waiting for.”
The youngster was admitted a fortnight ago and had five doses of chemo over ten days to prepare him for the procedure.
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Mum Modupe, 38, was able to spend time with him before his transplant.
Consultants warn he faces weeks of sickness as his body reacts to the new cells – with symptoms including vomiting and a fever.
Ebi, 45, said: “His doctors hope to see improvements after five weeks. It is so hard to see him so exhausted but I don’t have a choice. We are grateful to have this done. Our fingers are crossed to see what happens.”
For now, Nathaniel has a compromised immune system and is susceptible to falling ill, so he will be staying on the ward.
Nathaniel’s left eye was removed in his home country of Nigeria a year ago, due to myeloid sarcoma cancer. He was diagnosed with AML in the UK in November after coming here to have a prosthetic eye fitted.
Nathaniel was told a stem-cell transplant was his only hope for survival – but it would cost £201,000 as he is not a British citizen. Ebi and Modupe were initially told it could cost as much as £825,000 but the figure was revised after doctors waived their fees and offered to treat him in their own time.
The lad was admitted to GOSH on May 24 after generous Brits rushed to help the family raise cash.
Business analyst Ebi, who is staying at the hospital’s family quarters, said: “I’ve been there the whole time. When he is not sleeping he is passing the time playing his games.
“We sometimes talk about when he gets better and how exciting that will be. This is a difficult thing for him to go through, but Nathaniel is being brave, he is well in himself.”
What is acute myeloid leukaemia?
In acute myeloid leukaemia, unhealthy blood-forming stem cells grow quickly in the bone marrow.
This prevents it from making normal red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets – meaning the body cannot fight infections or stop bleeding.
A stem cell transplant, also known as a bone marrow transplant, can help AML patients stimulate new bone marrow growth and restore the immune system.
Before treatment, patients need high doses of chemo and sometimes radiotherapy.
This destroys existing cancer and bone marrow cells and stops the immune system working, to cut the risk of transplant rejection.
In an allogeneic transplant, stem cells are taken from a family member, unrelated donor or umbilical cord blood. In Nathaniel’s case, it was from a cord.
They are then passed into the patient’s body through a line inserted in a large, central vein, in a process that takes up to two hours.
You can also remove stem cells from the patient’s body and transplant them later, after any damaged or diseased cells have been removed – this is called an autologous transplant.
The survival rate after a transplant for patients with acute leukaemia in remission and using related donors is 55% to 68%, according to Medicine Net. If the donor is unrelated, it is 26% to 50%.
Transplant News Sharing // “Bone Marrow Transplants” – Google News from Source www.mirror.co.uk