Zainab Mughal: Toddler with cancer spurs rare blood research - BBC News

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Zainab Mughal was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer

A two-year-old American girl who needs several blood transfusions to fight cancer has stimulated a global campaign to find compatible donors.

Zainab Mughal has one of the rarest types of blood in the world, which makes it difficult to treat its condition.

Activists say more than 1,000 people have been tested, but only three have the blood they need.

Doctors say it will take between seven and ten donors in the course of his cancer treatment.

At the beginning of this year in Zainab he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a form of aggressive and rare cancer that affects mostly infants and young children.

Blood transfusions will be necessary for the duration of treatment, but Zainab's blood is "extremely rare" because it lacks an antigen – "B Indian" – that most people carry in the red blood cells, says OneBlood, a blood without purpose of profit that is leading the search for donors.

The only donors who could be a couple are people of exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent and with type O or A blood, says OneBlood.

But even within these countries, less than 4% of the population will lack the Indian antigen B.

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At least 7 to 10 suitable donors are needed

The body of Zainab will reject the blood that does not meet all the requirements.

"This is so rare that honestly this is the first time I've seen it in the 20 years I've done this," said Frieda Bright, a lab manager with OneBlood.

OneBlood is working with other blood banks and with the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP), a program that finds donors of rare blood types worldwide.

Two matching donors were found in the United States and another in the United Kingdom.

"Blood will not cure it, but it's very important for her to survive cancer treatment," Bright said in the campaign video.

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A photo of Zainab Mughal, who was diagnosed with cancer in October

"We cried a lot & # 39;

Zainab's father, Raheel Mughal, said his daughter was diagnosed in October.

"We were all crying, this was the worst thing we expected," he said in a OneBlood video.

After he and the mother of Zainab tried to donate their blood, the doctors found that none of them was compatible.

"And then a lot of people from my family went around and donated blood and this became more of an alarm."

According to OneBlood, treatment with chemotherapy is already reducing the size of the tumor, but Zainab will eventually need two bone marrow transplants.

"My daughter's life is very dependent on blood," says Mughal.

"What [donors] they are doing to save my daughter's life is incredible. The work you are doing, I will never forget it. "

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