Bone Marrow Transplant Recipient Marks 40 Years as Aplastic Anemia ‘Pioneer’

More than 40 years after a then-experimental bone marrow transplant for aplastic anemia, Jessica Brilliant Keener is thriving — and giving back every day to the institutions that gave her a second chance at life. Aplastic anemia occurs when bone marrow needed to supply all the body’s blood cells produces too few of those required … Read more

50-Year-Old Mystery Solved—With Clues to Making More Red Blood Cells

This post was originally published on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s science and clinical innovation blog. Back in the 1950s, doctors began using steroids to treat Diamond-Blackfan anemia, or DBA, a severe condition in which patients cannot make enough red blood cells. There was no real rationale for using steroids, but there was no other good option, … Read more

After 80 Years, Genetic Causes of Diamond-Blackfan Anemia Come Into View

This post was originally published on Vector, Boston Children Hospital’s science and clinical innovation blog. In 1938, Louis K. Diamond, MD, and Kenneth Blackfan, MD, at Boston Children’s Hospital described a severe congenital anemia that they termed “hypoplastic” (literally, “underdeveloped”) because of the bone marrow’s inability to produce mature, functioning red blood cells. Eighty years … Read more

CRISPR Enables Cancer Immunotherapy Drug Discovery

This originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. A novel screening method using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology has revealed new drug targets that could potentially enhance the effectiveness of PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors, a promising new class of cancer immunotherapy. The method, developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, uses CRISPR-Cas9 … Read more

Blood Relatives: Family Bound by Love and Rare Blood Disorder

Tracy Antonelli was four when she was diagnosed with thalassemia, a rare blood disorder that occurs often enough in Mediterranean countries like Italy that an old adage, uttered only partially in jest, warns Italian-Americans against marrying other Italian-Americans. In 2002, a grown-up Antonelli wed Patrick Mooty, whose background is mostly Irish. Their three daughters – … Read more

Aplastic Anemia or Dyskeratosis Congenita? Unclear Diagnosis Demands a Difficult Decision

Having a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is heart-wrenching for all parents, but when the diagnosis itself is uncertain, parents can face excruciatingly difficult decisions. This is what Katie and Josh Stevens of Idaho confronted after their son Riley was diagnosed in October 2012 with the blood disorder aplastic anemia, in which the body’s … Read more

Months After Transplant, Teen Hits the Soccer Field

Some 100 days after receiving a stem cell transplant to cure his severe aplastic anemia, 13-year-old Behaylu Barry still couldn’t invite friends into his home. He can’t return to school until January, when his immune system will finally be strong enough to fight the pathogens present in indoor spaces. Yet  Behaylu was doing so well … Read more

Faces of Childhood Cancer: Steven Clifford

Steven Clifford is an 18-year-old osteosarcoma survivor. A Boston native, he starts college at the University of California, San Diego this month. This is his story.

Life is made up of many difficult decisions. However, imagine my surprise when I had to make a tough and potentially life changing decision at the young age of 11. Up until then, I just was an average child who couldn’t wait to get out of school to play any sport imaginable with his friends.

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