Sudden onsets and diagnoses are frightening for anyone at any age. Our health is important and many people take great care and precaution to ensure that they live long and healthy lives. Unfortunately, at times, all of our efforts to take care of ourselves could simply be moot and we find an acute diagnosis or a disease that has been long-time brewing.
Kameron Kooshesh was 9 years old when he was diagnosed with Leukemia. Kooshesh was given the opportunity to try chemotherapy as a treatment, which later ended up failing after a grueling 2 years of intensive treatment. His family began a search for other options and found Duke Medical Center for their pioneer in stem cells: Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg.
Kooshesh received a full bone marrow transplant which resulted in eradicating the cancer, however, he had an adverse effect to it commonly known as Graft Vs. Host disease. He was quoted only to have 6 months left to live.
Dr. Kurtzberg looked for other options for Kooshesh and contacted “Mesoblast, a cell therapy company, for a compassionate use exemption to use their experimental stem cell treatment. It involved a simple infusion of specialized stem cells over the span of eight weeks. It completely shut down Kameron’s lethal GVHD” (Gomez 1). Kooshesh was found to be both GVHD and cancer free thanks to this incredible treatment.
Kooshesh is now beginning his first year as a medical student thanks to the treatment and dedication he received from his team when he was nine years old. This treatment happened more than 10 years ago, it seems, and it is exciting to think about how stem cells were able to eradicate this young boy’s quickening mortality. We can only imagine how much stem cells can do ten years from now.