A procedure last spring that doctors said went "extraordinarily well" ultimately failed to save the 12-year-old boy on whom doctors performed it.
Doctors at the University of Minnesota performed a cord-blood transfusion on the boy, who had both leukemia and HIV. It was the first time in U.S. history that such a procedure had been used to save the life of a patient suffering from both conditions.
The procedure was performed April 23. The boy died July 5.
University officials revealed this week that the patient's name was Eric Blue, and that he had been from Alexandria, La. From the university's statement:
"At the time we took Eric's case, we knew it was going to be a challenge and that success was never a guarantee," said transplant physician and Masonic Cancer Center researcher Michael Vernaris, M.D. "Still, we were ready to move this novel treatment approach forward based on the experience of our team with cord blood transplantation generally and availability of HIV experts here at the University. While the entire team is very sad for this family, we also must recognize that we gave him the best chance of beating not one but two life-threatening diseases."
The Daily Circuit welcomes a doctor who oversaw the procedure.