Spain sees first cancer treatment using umbilical cord

Girl receives treatment on tumor using her own stem cells

A young girl has become the first person in Spain to have received stem cells from her own umbilical cord to treat a brain tumor. Alba Ramírez, now four years old, underwent surgery two years ago at Niño Jesús hospital in Madrid, but her case was not revealed until her condition improved sufficiently.

"The child had a medulloblastoma, a solid tumor," said Luis Madero, head of the oncohematology department at the hospital. In cancer treatments, five years have to go by before a patient can be considered cured.

"Her diagnosis was very bad; she'd already been operated on and we knew the parents had kept the cord at Criocord. Otherwise, we would have had to use her peripheral blood, which is the usual treatment," explained the doctor, who described Alba's case as "exceptional."