Stem cells save life, bring brothers back together
by Alan Reed
Jul 05, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Washer’s IGA employee Mike Paterson recently took time off from his job to visit his brother John, a patient at Duke University, to give some stem cells that may well have saved his brother’s life.
Washer’s IGA employee Mike Paterson recently took time off from his job to visit his brother John, a patient at Duke University, to give some stem cells that may well have saved his brother’s life.
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On February 13, former Trigg County resident John Patterson was told that without treatment, his acute myeloid leukemia would kill him within three weeks. His oncologist in Nashville began chemotherapy at once. Thanks to a stem cell transplant at Duke University donated by his brother Mike, John could be on the road to remission.

“He’s doing fairly well,” said John’s wife Mary Ellen. ”His blood numbers are coming up every day, and we are on Day 30 now.”

Mike, a lifelong resident of Trigg County, works at Washer’s IGA. Chris Washer said, “Mike is great. He’s been here since he came to work for my father part time when he was in high school, and been with us since. He’s very dependable, does everything asked of him, and is a great night manager.”

Mike said that due to his brother being eight years older, they were not close growing up. “This has brought us much closer together, and I am glad. It took his illness to overcome.”

John’s treatment began with an extensive bout of chemotherapy to destroy his cancerous bone marrow. Mike was given a drug called Neupogen to stimulate formation of stem cells, the cells that the maturing process differentiates into the various blood cells. He then underwent a process called aphaeresis, which removed the stem cells from his blood.

John was told by his Nashville oncologist that the Duke Medical Center was cutting edge and offered the best survival rate. The procedure was deemed to offer his greatest chance of survival.

“It took two days, one session each day. My blood was completely removed filtered for stem cells and returned to me three times. The first day it took seven hours, and the second day it was six,” Mike said of the process.

“With the Neupogen injection, I would experience a low grade headache, some nausea, and some muscle and bone pains. It was somewhat uncomfortable for a period of six days, but nothing I couldn’t live with,” said Mike.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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