In this health video learn how blood stem cell transplants used to treat leukemia can be harsh. That's why scientists have devised a more tender way to treat the disease.
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Jennifer Matthews: Whether it's putting together a puzzle or playing his favorite game, 6-year-old Charles has energy. In fact, many people are surprised to learn Charles suffers from leukemia. Reshonda Hills: He's just so full of energy and running around. Jennifer Matthews: But it wasn't too long ago that Charles needed a blood stem cell transplant. The problem, his family was having a hard time finding a donor match. Luckily researchers from St. Jude are testing a new method that uses mismatched related donors. Gregory Hale: Those types of transplants are typically fraught with more side effects because of that mismatch. Jennifer Matthews: But Dr. Hale performs what's called a reduced intensity transplant to minimize the side effects. First, cells are taken from the mismatched donor and processed in a machine. It separates out bad T-cells which can cause problems after the transplant. Then, the good cells are injected into the patient. The new method requires less chemo and no radiation. Gregory Hale:: It's actually very exciting because we are seeing patients not dying from infections, not spending the whole day in the medicine room Jennifer Matthews: In a study, children recovered quicker and had fewer infections with the reduced intensity treatment. Charles's dad was his donor, and the transplant was a success. Charles: It's like when I got out of the hospital, I was glad. Jennifer Matthews: And so was his mom. Reshonda Hills: He's doing well, and he's coping with it very good, so I mean we just take one day forward. Jennifer Matthews: And Charles plan on enjoying each and every one. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.