A two-year-old American girl in need of multiple blood transfusions to fight cancer has launched a global campaign to find compatible donors.
Zainab Mughal has one of the rarest blood types in the world, which makes it difficult
campaigns say more than 1
Doctors say that seven to ten donors are needed in the course of their cancer treatment. 19659007] Earlier this year, Zainab was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive and rare form of cancer that primarily affects babies and toddlers.
Blood transfusions will be required for the duration of their treatment, but Zainab's blood is "extremely rare" because it lacks an antigen ("Indian B") that most people carry in their red blood cells, says OneBlood, a non- Profit Blood Center, which leads the search for donors.
The only donors likely to find a match are individuals of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, and with blood type O or A, says OneBlood.
But even within these countries, less than 4% of the population will lack Indian B antigen.
Zainab's body will reject any blood that does not meet all requirements.
"This is so rare that I have seen it for the first time in the 20 years I've seen it," he told Frieda Bright, OneBlood's laboratory supervisor.
OneBlood partners with other blood banks and the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP), a program that finds donors of rare blood types around the world.
Two matching donors were found in the US and another in the UK.
"Blood will not cure her, but it's very important for her to survive cancer treatment," said Ms. Bright in a campaign video.
"We cried a lot"
Zainab's father Raheel Mughal said his daughter was diagnosed in October.
"We all cried, that was the worst we expected," he said in a OneBlood video.
After he and Zainab's mother tried to donate their own blood, the doctors found that none of them were compatible.
"And then many people in my family who donate blood came A warning."
According to OneBlood, chemotherapy treatment already reduces the size of the tumor, but Zainab will eventually require two bone marrow transplants.
"The life of my daughter depends heavily on the blood," says Mr Mughal.
"What [donors] is doing to save my daughter's life is amazing, I'll never forget the work you do."