Boy who received first cord blood transplant to cure HIV, leukemia dies

5:32 PM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - The child who received the first cord blood transplant in the United States to try and cure him of HIV and leukemia has died.

The transplant was performed by physicians at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital on April 23, 2013.

In a statement released by the University of Minnesota they reveal with permission from the child's mother that the patient was 12-year-old Eric Blue from Alexandria, Louisiana.

Initially the treatment was promising but in June he developed a severe complication when the immune cells of the donor attacked various tissues in his body. He passed away on July 5.

"At the time we took Eric's case, we knew it was going to be a challenge and that success was never a guarantee," said transplant physician and Masonic Cancer Center researcher Michael Vernaris, M.D. "Still, we were ready to move this novel treatment approach forward based on the experience of our team with cord blood transplantation generally and availability of HIV experts here at the University. While the entire team is very sad for this family, we also must recognize that we gave him the best chance of beating not one but two life-threatening diseases."

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