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A Guide to Acute Leukaemia and Stem Cells

Acute leukaemia is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer as it normally progresses rapidly and needs quick treatment. Around 3,000 people are diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in the UK every year and it mainly affects people over 60. Stem cell therapy is a vital part of treating leukaemia.

Storing stem cells from your baby’s umbilical cord could be lifesaving and help treat acute leukaemia. Healthy bone marrow and blood cells are essential, and a cord blood transplant can be one of the best ways to treat conditions like acute leukaemia. Discover how storing stem cells may help fight acute leukaemia.

Can acute leukaemia be cured?

Acute leukaemia is treatable to prevent it from coming back. Effective treatments for acute leukaemia include high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell therapy, while radiotherapy is also used in some cases. Chemotherapy is the most effective way we currently have of treating acute leukaemia. High-dose chemotherapy is used to kill the cancer cells in the blood.

However, the use of chemotherapy is limited because of the damage it does to normal blood and bone marrow cells, as well as cancerous ones. After receiving chemotherapy, the patient’s blood and immune system are severely damaged, making the patient extremely vulnerable.

Why are stem cells needed to treat acute leukaemia?

Stem cells are important in the treatment of leukaemia due to the damage caused by chemotherapy. These special cells, which are produced by bone marrow and found in the umbilical cord, can become different cells that the body needs. They can replace the damaged cells after the effects of high-dose chemotherapy.

Stem cells are needed in the treatment of leukaemia as they allow the patient to receive far higher doses of chemotherapy. This is because the damaged blood cells will be replaced with new stored stem cells that can transform into the necessary blood cells for recovery.

During a cord blood transplant, the stored stem cells enter the patient’s blood, move to the bone marrow, and start producing the new blood cells the body needs. These cells help the body develop a new immune system, which should recognise and destroy any further cancerous cells.

What types of leukaemia can stem cell therapy help?

Stem cell therapy can help with a few forms of cancer. These include:

  • Acute Leukaemia (ALL)
  • Acute Myelogenous Leukaemia (AML)
  • Biphenotypic acute leukaemia (BAL)
  • Acute Undifferentiated Leukaemia (AUL)

Acute leukaemia is a type of blood cancer where the cancer cells multiply rapidly, and urgent treatment is needed. Stem cells are vital in helping the body replace the destroyed and damaged blood cells and rebuild the immune system after chemotherapy treatment.

How do stored stem cells help treat acute leukaemia?

One of the most challenging parts of treating leukaemia is finding the correct type of cells to transplant. Stem cells are rare, and a baby’s umbilical cord is one of the best sources. Stem cells can be used to treat the child if the unthinkable happens. These stem cells could also be used to help other family members if they’re diagnosed with acute leukaemia and need a stem cell transplant.

Another important consideration is that if your child has their stem cells stored in a stem cell bank, they can be treated with their own stem cells. This means they shouldn’t develop Graft vs Host Disease. Blood from the umbilical cord contains high quantities of stem cells, and this priceless resource can be stored safely in a simple process.

How do I store stem cells?

Because of the incredible lifesaving potential of stem cells, more people are choosing to protect their child’s future and store their stem cells in a dedicated stem cell storage bank. At Stem Protect we provide everything you need to store stem cells for future use – but we don’t offer stem cell therapy.

Collecting and banking stem cells is a simple, non-invasive, and painless procedure that could save your child’s life. Get in touch today to find out more about our expert stem cell banking services and arrange a free consultation with no obligation – call 0800 211 8389 or contact us online.

Learn about how stem cells can treat other conditions

Explore more of our expert guides to discover how stem cell banking and therapy may help treat various other health conditions:

Can stem cells prevent anaemia?

Can stem cells prevent myelodysplastic syndromes?

Can stem cells help chronic leukaemia?

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