The First Transplant

In October 2019, was celebrated the 30th anniversary of the first cord blood transplant that occurred at Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris.
The patient, Matthew Farrow, 5 years old at the time, was a child with a rare blood disease with a high mortality rate, known as Fanconi Anemia.

This pioneering clinical intervention was a real milestone in the history of medicine, representing a real international effort so that it could be carried out. Matthew traveled from North Carolina, accompanied by the American scientist responsible for storing his donor’s stem cells (his newborn sister), Dr. Hal Broxmeyer, by the physician responsible for following up his case at Duke University Medical Center, Drª Joanne Kurtzberg and the doctor responsible for the infusion, Dr Elian Gluckman, from the Saint-Louis Hospital, in Paris.

Medical team

Drª Joanne Kurtzberg

Pediatric hematologist, Duke University Medical Center

Drª Elian Gluckman

Hematologista and researcher, Hospital Saint‑Louis

Dr. Hal Broxmeyer

Immunologist, Indiana University School of Medicine

Dr.ª Joanne Kurtzberg
Dr.ª Elian Gluckman
Dr. Hal Broxmeyer

"My sister's blood healed me"

Matthew, now 37, husband and father, is fully cured thanks to the Cord Blood transplant performed. Much of Matthew’s time is dedicated to communicate and bring awareness to people around the world about the importance and potential of preserving stem cells. In an interview with Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation he states: “My goal is to share my story to help increase people’s awareness and understanding of umbilical cord blood. There are, in fact, many people who have not yet understood its real importance”. Matt uses his personal experience to alert and raise awareness of this issue, being emphatic about the importance that umbilical cord blood had for him: “My sister’s umbilical cord blood cured me of bone marrow failure caused by Fanconi Anemia and that allowed me to grow up to be the adult I am today. My role is to encourage families of young children who have undergone transplants, showing them that they can grow up, have a family and live a normal life”.

This procedure was a success and a milestone for medicine. Since then, umbilical cord blood samples are cryopreserved all over the world, creating a new source of stem cells that have generated countless success cases over the past 30 years, with more than 40,000 transplants.

After 30 years of study and use, stem cells currently represent a valuable resource available for more than 80 types of blood diseases and a promising potential with regard to regenerative medicine in diseases of the heart, Alzheimer, Parkinson, among others.