2-year-old girl battling cancer needs extremely rare blood

2-year-old girl battling cancer needs extremely rare blood

OneBlood, a local not-for-profit blood center is leading the search for Zainab, a Miami girl who is battling neuroblastoma, a very aggressive form of cancer. But her family believes the tumor in her stomach had been growing for at least 10 months before that, her father, Raheel Mughal, said in a video published by OneBlood, the organization aiding the family's search for Zainab's blood supply.

In order to be a match for Zainab, the donor must be Pakistani, Indian or Iranian - meaning the donor's birth parents would have to be 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian - and must have a blood type of "O" or "A".

To be compatible with Zainab, an ideal blood type will be missing the Indian B antigen or else chances are that she would reject the blood.

Neuroblastoma most often occurs in infants and young children, and accounts for about 6 percent of all cancers in children.

Then, about two months ago, the 2-year-old's parents got a devastating diagnosis - Zainab has neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that mainly affects children.

Raheel Mughal, Zainab's father said, "My daughter, she is still a long way away from being flawless". Zainab does not have the common Indian B antigen that most people have in their red blood cells due to a genetic mutation. "This was the worst thing we were expecting".

Zainab Mughal
Image The child needs life-saving transfusions and bone marrow transplants

And even within these ethnic groups, fewer than 4% have the genetic variation.

Locating people who are missing the Indian B antigen comes down to genetics. The donors who belong to the rare blood group should coordinate with OneBlood to ensure the other additional compatibility testing is performer before donation. So far, three matching donors have been located, including a donor that ARDP located in the United Kingdom, near London.

"She's going to need to be completely supported by blood donations in order to survive the cancer treatment in order to kill this cancer", Bright said. Zainab's donor must also have an "O" or "A" blood type.

For the said goal, a global quest is underway to find a rare blood type.

OneBlood is working with the American Rare Donor Programme in an attempt to find donors in the States and overseas, and will co-ordinate all donations anywhere in the world.

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

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