ABMDR Donor’s Stem Cells Harvested To Help Save Her Nephew’s Life

Stem-cell donor Christina and ABMDR’s Dr. Andranik Mshetsyan, who performed the harvesting procedure.
Stem-cell donor Christina and ABMDR’s Dr. Andranik Mshetsyan, who performed the harvesting procedure.

Stem-cell donor Christina and ABMDR’s Dr. Andranik Mshetsyan, who performed the harvesting procedure.

The harvesting, to facilitate ABMDR’s 32nd transplant to date, marks the organization’s 20th anniversary

LOS ANGELES—Stem cells were harvested from Christina, a Yerevan resident and a registered donor with the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry on January 23.

Following the safe, painless procedure, performed by Dr. Andranik Mshetsyan at ABMDR’s Stem Cell Harvesting Center in Yerevan, the harvested stem cells were flown to Barcelona, Spain, through a special courier, to be used for a potentially life-saving transplantation. In order for the transplant to be successful, the harvested stem cells had to be infused into the patient’s body within 48 hours of the harvesting.

From left: ABMDR Executive Director Dr. Sevak Avagyan, Dr. Andranik Mshetsyan, ABMDR President Dr. Frieda Jordan, the international courier who delivered the harvested stem cells to Barcelona, and ABMDR Medical Director Dr. Mihran Nazaretyan.

From left: ABMDR Executive Director Dr. Sevak Avagyan, Dr. Andranik Mshetsyan, ABMDR President Dr. Frieda Jordan, the international courier who delivered the harvested stem cells to Barcelona, and ABMDR Medical Director Dr. Mihran Nazaretyan.

Christina had joined ABMDR in 2015, with hopes of being of help to a young leukemia patient who needed a matched donor. In 2018, Christina’s own nephew, Areni, was diagnosed with leukemia. Desperate to save Areni’s life, his family moved to Spain for a chance to provide a transplant for their child. Subsequently the Spanish transplant center where Areni had been undergoing treatment contacted ABMDR, with an urgent request to find a donor for the seven-year-old boy. At this point, as ABMDR searched its global database, a perfect match was located. The matched donor turned out to be none other than Areni’s aunt, Christina.

“We are just overjoyed by this wonderful development,” said Dr. Sevak Avagyan, Executive Director of ABMDR. “Christina had joined our registry out of a selfless desire to help save someone’s life. And now, as she has been identified as a perfect donor match for her own nephew, her role as a donor is all the more touching — it is a testament to our shared quest for bringing hope to families of patients struck by life-threatening blood-related illnesses. The harvesting of Christina’s stem cells is also deeply significant for our organization because it was performed to facilitate our 32nd transplant to date, and it is the first such procedure to be carried out in 2019, our 20th-anniversary year!”
About the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry: Established in 1999, ABMDR, a nonprofit organization, helps Armenians and non-Armenians worldwide survive life-threatening blood-related illnesses by recruiting and matching donors to those requiring bone marrow stem cell transplants. To date, the Registry has recruited over 29,000 donors in 31 countries across four continents, identified 9,000 patients, and facilitated 32 bone marrow transplants. For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit abmdr.am.

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