Boy home after rare stem cell treatment

February 12, 2008

Balloons and signs greeted 2-year-old Caden Ledbetter's return from the hospital following a rare stem cell cancer treatment, a Dallas newspaper said.

Doctors with the Medical City Dallas Hospital released Caden Monday following a two-month treatment for neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system.

Doctors used chemotherapy to treat the cancer and then used stem cells from Caden's umbilical cord to rebuild his immune system, The Dallas Morning News said Tuesday. The treatment is so rare doctors are unsure whether the cancer will stay in remission or develop again from the umbilical cells.

"We're not talking about his being cured of his neuroblastoma right now," said Dr. Joel Weinthal who treated the boy. "It's certainly a very positive thing that he gets to go home from the hospital but he has a long road ahead of him."

The Ledbetters put air purifiers and a new circulation system in their house to help protect Caden's new immune system and he will undergo more radiation treatments for cancer.

His mother told the Morning News that Caden didn't talk to anyone at the hospital "and everything was 'No, don't touch me,'" but she added that, "Now we're almost back to the Caden that we know."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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