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13 Apr 2015
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Stem Cell Success Story: Irish girl successfully treated for juvenile arthritis using little brother’s stem cells

Success stories of stem cell transplants never fail to get us excited. It is a promise of what the future of medicine holds for us. And to know that we have already preserved the potential of stem cells for the protection of our children, we truly get a sense of pride.

A 6 year old Irish girl Ciara, was recently treated for a crippling form of juvenile arthritis through stem cell transplant, using her brother Cian’s (4) stem cells. The girl underwent the transplant in Newcastle Hospital in the UK and is now living a transformed life – one without pain.

Juvenile arthritis is the arthritis that affects children. The condition affects children of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. About 294,000 American children under the age of 18 have arthritis and other rheumatic conditions. Juvenile arthritis is an autoimmune disorder with symptoms such as swelling of the joints, pain and stiffness. It affects the joints such as hands, feet, knees. It can also cause eye inflammation and other growth disorders. Treatment for juvenile arthritis is a mix of medical and physical therapy. While there is no full cure, the condition can be managed with treatment.

Ciara had suffered excruciating pain for four years and the condition affected every joint in her body. Now post the transplant, she is relieved of her pain and is looking forward to going back to school. Her little brother Cian has played the hero in her life by giving her his stem cells. He said "the doctor's going to take out my solar system and give it to Ciara".

Ciara’s post transplant treatment program includes regular infusions of immunoglobulin to prevent infection and a check up after 3 months. The family received support from London Wexford Association through a fundraiser in the UK. Ciara also received great support from ICAN (Irish Children’s Arthritis Network)

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