Monday, 10 December, 2018

OneBlood needs donor for girl with extremely rare blood type

Zainab's blood is extremely rare because she is missing a common antigen that most people carry on their red blood cells Zainab's blood is extremely rare because she is missing a common antigen that most people carry on their red blood cells
Samantha Long | 08 December, 2018, 15:39

Zainab Mughal has a rare blood mutation, complicating efforts to find compatible blood donors as she undergoes treatment for cancer.

Most people never have to contend with the often-hidden world of rare blood transfusions. She's part of a team that works around the clock, 365 days a year, to identify and catalogue units of rare blood and, when possible, fulfill requests. Zainab's parents learned that she has high-risk neuroblastoma and the doctors think the tumor inside the child's belly may have been growing for at least 10 months.

"The results were really bad", said her father, Raheel Mughal, in a video. She suffers from neuroblastoma, that developed in her nerve cells and she is now undergoing chemotherapy.

However, it can also begin in or spread to other areas including the abdomen, chest, and spine, where groups of nerve cells exist. Zainab's blood is missing an antigen called Indian B, and her body will attack transfused blood that contains it.

"That's when it became more of an alert", Raheel said in a video on OneBlood's website, who has now teamed up with the family and the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP) to help Zainab in her worldwide blood search.

"Statistically, the only people who are likely to be a match for Zainab are people of Pakistani, Indian, or Iranian descent", according to a news release from MVRBC.

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Why? Because people from different ethnic groups have specific genetic backgrounds.

So far, more than 1,000 donations have been tested and no additional matches have been identified, the nonprofit organization said.

Since sharing her story on their site, Zainab has luckily found three donors already, including one from the United Kingdom - the first time OneBlood has received an global donor for a local patient - but she will need approximately four to six more donors in order to survive.

"Because she's made this antibody we now have to provide more specially matched blood for this child", said Frieda Bright, OneBlood's reference lab manager. "My daughter's life very much depends on the blood..." "If you are one of those people from the Middle East, please go out and donate blood for my daughter", he said.

OneBlood is coordinating compatibility testing and asks that prospective donors specify that they are looking to donate for Zainab, so the blood can be tagged for testing.

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