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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Vol. 70, Number 3 (Dec. 1968)

The University,   pp. 17-21

Page 17

The University
T WO-YEAR-OLD David Zeis-
    sett went home to Chatham,
N. Y. from University Hospitals on
the day before Thanksgiving, the
recipient of the world's first success-
ful bone marrow transplant. Al-
though he is still under observation,
his prognosis is hopeful.
  When his parents brought him
here in August David was suffering
from a deadly bloo'disease, Wis
kott-Aldrich syndrome. Unable to
produce the platelets and antibodies
necessary to fight infection, he was
undergoing acute brain and intesti-
nal hemorrhaging, and had to be
transfused every two days.
   A team of University scientists
headed by Fritz Bach, M.D. of the
genetics department tested David
and his nine-year-old sister for their
blood and tissue compatibility-the
same technique used in kidney
   The key they sought was the
matching of one particular gene,
designated HL--A, which indicates
whether-or-not the ecipient will-ac-
cept the donor's tissue.
   David and his sister were similar
with respect to this gene, so bone
marrow was extracted from her, and
purified to remove red cells and im-
purities. David was injected with
blood cells from his sister to cause
the activation of any rejections
which he might produce. The boy
was then given a drug which would
kill the cells most responsible for
that rejection. (In an earlier opera-
tion, shortly after his arrival, he had
received an insufficient amount of
the drug and rejection took place).
On September 27, his sister's mar-
row was transfused into his bones.
   For the first four days it ap-
peared that this second operation
was also a failure. David's blood
platelet count became dangerously
low and white blood cells were en-
tirely absent.
   Then, four days after the opera-
tion, his white cell count began to
rise. Antibodies appeared in his
blood for the first time in his life.
   Tests made just before he went
home indicate that all of his lym-
phocytes are now being manufac-
tured by marrow transplanted from
his sister.
   While the first marrow transplant
was performed here (two others
have since been accomplished at
other places), Bach and his col-
league-on-the- case, Richard Albe-r-
tini, M.D., giwemuh -rediht-r o
earlier research at various medical
centers for the store of acknowledge
on which they worked.
   Their achievement offers hope
that, for the first time, there may
soon be effective treatment for leu-
kemia, hemophilia, and a host of
genetic blood diseases which have,
until now, been incurable. Bone
marrow can be readily available
from live donors: University Hospi-
tals already tests volunteers and
catalogs them against an emergency
which cannot be met by a blood
relative of the victim.
  The procedure is still experi-
mental, Dr. Bach emphasizes, and
"further basic research will be
needed before tissue transplants of
this nature become routine thera-
peutic procedures." But wnie me
research goes on, victims of blood
diseases, and their families have new
reason to hope, along with the Don-
ald Zeissetts of Chatham, N. Y. 0
Dr. Bach (left) and the Zeissetts

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