Dedicate a Day to Research: Kyle’s Story

Posted September 14th, 2016 by Be The Match and filed in News
Show Content
Thanks to research focused on transplant science, Kyle (right) found his match in Lt. Segundo (left).

Thanks to research focused on transplant science, Kyle (right) found his match in Lt. Segundo (left).

This September, give a gift in support of research to help drive the scientific advances that save and improve patients’ lives.

Tremendous gains have been made, but we still lose far too many sons, daughters, mothers and fathers to blood cancers for which a marrow transplant could be a cure. Researchers are working around the clock to offer hope to patients and their families, improve matching, reduce complications, and help more patients live longer and healthier lives.

Basic research made all the difference for four-year-old Kyle, who was suffering a life-threatening disease known as aplastic anemia. His only hope was an immediate life-saving marrow transplant. He did not have a matched donor in his family, so his doctors turned to the Be The Match Registry.

Kyle’s case presented a special challenge. Kyle’s mother is Chinese and his father’s is Caucasian. Patients who are ethnically diverse often have genetic profiles that are less common, and good marrow matches are harder to find. Years earlier, a search for this kind of match would have been focused on donors who were either Chinese or Caucasian, and the likelihood of a perfect match would have been much lower.

But thanks to Be The Match’s Bioinformatics Research Team, scientists had identified three populations with genetic profiles similar to Kyle’s: Hawaiians, Vietnamese, and Filipinos. Since there were very few Chinese/Caucasian potential donors on the registry, they knew where they needed to look for a match—and they found one. A Hawaiian man was identified—U.S. Navy Lieutenant Kawika Segundo— and Kyle had his life-saving transplant!

The science of ancestry and genetics—research funded by Be The Match—made Kyle’s marrow match possible and saved his young life. With new research, we continue to catalog more precise genetic data and improve our matching techniques to save more lives.

You can be part of this ground-breaking work. Help other patients like Kyle get the life-saving transplant they need: give now in support of life-saving research.

Leave a Reply