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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 16:19 GMT
Spanish baby could be vital donor
Caitlin Behan
A potential donor for Caitlin has been found in Spain
A six-year-old girl's hopes of finding a bone marrow donor could be fulfilled by a Spanish baby.

Caitlin Behan, from Weston Favell, in Northamptonshire, has Fanconi's anaemia, a potentially fatal rare blood disease which prevents the bone marrow from producing blood cells normally.

Her only hope for a cure is to have a bone marrow transplant.

The Anthony Nolan Trust believes there is a potential donor in Barcelona and further tests are being carried out.

Hundreds of people across England have been tested to try to find a match for Caitlin, who has a rare tissue type.

When the tests proved unsuccessful, her family, the Anthony Nolan Trust and the Birmingham Children's Hospital, spread the search across the world and a potential donor has been found.

The compatible stem cell tissue was taken from a baby's umbilical cord at a hospital in Barcelona.

Initial tests indicate it is a good, but not perfect match.

Although we are delighted with this latest bit of news, it is only the beginning and Caitlin still has a long and difficult road ahead of her
Mark Behan, Caitlin's father
Caitlin's father, Mark, said: "Although the match isn't perfect, doctors are hopeful that because it's from a baby and therefore hasn't been exposed to diseases or illnesses, they will be able to manipulate it to be a better match."

If further tests on the donor tissue are successful, a transplant could take place in late March.

"All going well, the transplant will take place on 23 March, but it will be weeks, if not months before we know whether it has been successful," said Mr Behan.

Caitlin will also have to undergo ten days of chemotherapy before the transplant.

"Although we are delighted with this latest bit of news, it is only the beginning and Caitlin still has a long and difficult road ahead of her," he added.

"It is still very much one day at a time, and there is absolutely no guarantee that the transplant will be successful.

"Rejection rates are often high."

New session to find Caitlin donor
07 Jan 04  |  Northamptonshire
Emotional appeal for Caitlin donor
31 Dec 03  |  Northamptonshire
Caitlin's bone marrow donor appeal
06 Nov 03  |  Northamptonshire

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