COLUMBIA (WACH)Baby Harlow had Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a type of sarcoma. Sarcoma is cancer of soft tissue (like muscle), connective tissue (such as tendon or cartilage), or bone. Rhabdomyosarcoma usually begins in muscles that are attached to bones and that help the body move. It is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma in children. There are three main types of rhabdomyosarcoma:
- Anaplastic: This type rarely occurs in children.
- Alveolar: This type usually occurs during the teen years and occurs most often in the legs or arms, chest, abdomen, genital organs, or anal area.
- Embryonal: This type is the most common and occurs mostly in the head and neck area or in the genital or urinary organs.
The use of umbilical cord blood stem cells has increased significantly in the past 20 years. Many doctors recommend banking for a variety of reasons. Umbilical cord blood is used today to treat many life-threatening diseases including leukemia, certain other cancers and blood, immune and metabolic disorders. Using your own family??s cord blood can have many advantages in treatments, including fewer complications and improved medical outcomes. Cord blood stem cells are not embryonic stem cells and are not controversial. Banking cord blood is a safe and painless procedure that usually takes less than five minutes and happens immediately after birth. After the umbilical cord has been cut, the remaining blood in the cord is collected. The cord blood is then shipped to the laboratory, processed, and frozen in cryogenic storage tanks. Any member of the family who is a suitable match may be able to use your baby??s cord blood stem cells for transplant medicine. Siblings are most likely to be compatible matches with 25 percent of these cases offering a match. Currently, there are more than 30 FDA-regulated clinical trials researching medical uses for cord blood stem cells, including studies for brain injury, juvenile diabetes, cerebral palsy, and hearing loss.