Grandmother saves brother by becoming the world's oldest stem cell donor

Mail Online | 2009-05-01

A grandmother has become the oldest person ever to donate stem cells – to save her younger brother's life.

Despite being too old under medical guidelines Erica Henderson, 75, was allowed to undergo the procedure to help leukaemia sufferer Paul Hallowes.

High dose chemotherapy had impaired his body's ability to produce blood cells, and he would have died without stem cell therapy.

Despite him having three children and five grandchildren, a suitable donor could not be found.

Doctors searched the national database of 600,000 blood donors but even then they were unable to find a match for his O-negative blood group.

Mr Hallowes, 69, was told he had just two years to live until his sister insisted she be tested and doctors discovered she was a 'perfect match'.

Medical rules, however, state that the life-saving cells can only be donated by people up to the age of 70.

But doctors at Royal Marsden Hospital in London passed Mrs Henderson as '100 per cent fit'. The transfer took place at the hospital in October and two weeks ago Paul was told he is now in remission.
Doctors say Mrs Henderson, of Westward Ho! in Devon, has made medical history as the world's oldest ever stem cell donor.