I think that we really need to have a new word. Stem cells traditionally has meant hematopoietic stem cells from the bone marrow. Now it is of course being used to refer to pluripotent stem cells that can produce all sorts of cells besides blood cells. In this particular case, this man's brother has lymphoma, probably had to get both chemotherapy and radiation therapy that destroyed his bone marrow and now requires a transplant of bone marrow cells. Bone marrow transplants have to be closely matched for HLA antigens and preferably from a close relative.


Marine returns from Kuwait to donate stem cells for ill brother

Associated Press Writer

Ian Perry's service for his country in the Persian Gulf has been pre-empted by the need to make a sacrifice for his brother.

Perry, a 20-year-old Marine helicopter mechanic aboard an amphibious assault ship taking part in Operation Iraqi Freedom, has returned to America so he can donate stem cells to an older brother suffering from cancer. He will undergo the donating procedure Thursday at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute.

Once the Red Cross gave the word that Perry was needed to possibly save the life of his brother, Scott Perry, 36, it took the Marines about two days to hustle the private first-class back home to Orlando.

"I was on a ship and then, all of a sudden, I'm back in Florida with my family," Ian Perry, who received the news on April 6, said Wednesday. "It was really hard to take in."

Scott Perry, diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma more than three years ago, was grateful his brother was available on such short notice.

"I attribute that to a good command letting him go," Scott Perry said. "I was quite pleased that they were able to step up to the plate."

The procedure involves removing healthy blood stem cells from Ian's bone marrow and transplanting them to Scott's body. It will be an adjunct treatment to chemotherapy.

Attempts by doctors to treat Scott Perry with a transplant of his own stem cells have been unsuccessful.

"Basically, I was the last resort," Ian Perry said.

Dr. John Edwards noted that Scott Perry has been responding well to chemotherapy. But had that treatment not gone well, time would've been critical for his brother's stem cells.

"We're fortunate. When we contacted (the Marines) we weren't so sure how he'd be doing," said Edwards, who will perform the procedure on Ian Perry.

Scott Perry said the stem-cell therapy has a 25 percent chance of success.

During the six-hour procedure, called a pheresis, Ian Perry will have an IV in each arm. Whole blood is collected from one arm and goes into a machine called a cell separator, which spins the collected blood to separate the components.

The stem cells and other desired components will be collected into a special bag; the red cells and other components are returned to the donor.

The stem cells which will be used for Scott Perry's treatment can also be frozen and stored for up to 10 years, Edwards said. Even if the treatment fails, doctors will have more options for treatment thanks to his new bone marrow.