May 1, 2009
A 75-year-old grandmother in the U.K. has become the oldest person ever to donate stem cells. Erica Henderson was allowed to donate her bone marrow adult stem cells, even though she was older than the medical guidelines limit of 70 years old to be a donor. Her younger brother Paul Hallowes, a mere 69 years old, had been diagnosed with leukemia and after high dose chemotherapy, he needed an adult stem cell transplant to repair his body's ability to produce blood and immune cells. He would have died without the stem cell therapy. The transfer took place in October 2008 and two weeks ago Paul was told he is now in remission. And Mrs. Henderson has made medical history as the world's oldest stem cell donor. Obviously there is some advantage to age, especially when the stem cells are from someone older than an embryo.