Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Toddler with rare blood type sparks worldwide search for donors

Toddler with rare blood type sparks worldwide search for donors

- OneBlood reported on Monday that they are searching worldwide for some of the rarest blood in the world, as it is needed to save a a two-year-old South Florida girl.

In order to meet the said pre-requisites, the blood donation organisation has chose to expand its search across the globe with an aim to raise 7-10 donors to donate blood over the period of Zainab's treatment.

The blood is even harder to find because the donors must have blood types "O" or "A" and be 100 percent of Indian, Iranian or Pakistani descent, Forbes said. Zainab Mughal, who has neuroblastoma and requires life-saving transfusions, is missing the "Indian B" antigen in her blood due to a genetic mutation. She was then diagnosed with cancer.

Zainab's tumor was found in her stomach two months ago, but doctors believe it may have been growing undetected for nearly ten months.

According to St Jude Children's Research Hospital, neuroblastoma accounts for seven to 10 percent of childhood cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 800 new cases of neuroblastoma diagnosed each year. 'This was the worst thing we were expecting'.

The cancer can spread to tissues beyond the original site, including bone marrow, bone, lymph nodes, liver and skin.

Zainab's red blood cells are missing a common antigen known as Indian-B, said Susan Forbes, vice president of marketing and communications for OneBlood.

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"We will definitely need more blood", Mughal said.

Florida-based OneBlood, a nonprofit blood center, has now been conducting an worldwide search to find compatible blood donors.

Complicating the matter: She has a rare blood type and finding a match for life-saving transfusions is a huge challenge. The donor must also be missing the Indian B antigen, or the little girl's body will reject the blood.

The only people who are likely to be a match for Zainab are people of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, OneBlood said.

"What you're doing to save a human life, my daughter's life, is wonderful", says Mughal.

OneBlood, a not-for-profit organisation, is offering to co-ordinate compatibility testing anywhere in the world.

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