Clinical trial could prove white blood cells help curb cancer
Grassroots effort to find blood donors, help study
8:17 PM, Feb 2, 2012
9:57 PM, Feb 2, 2012
At 66-years-old, Rene O'Reilly is a mother and grandmother fighting throat and lung cancer. Chemotherapy is working, but doctors say it won't save her life. She's turning to Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj, who may be able to help through a clinical trial out of his Boynton Beach practice.
"I believe our clinical study is the only one of its kind using this method in the U.S.," said Dr. Maharaj.
Dr. Maharaj would infuse patients with white blood cells to attack the cancer, but a host of blood donors are needed so Rene can participate.
That's where her nephew David Lee comes in. He flew to South Florida from Las Vegas on Thursday to search for potential blood donors.
"When I got the phone call from my uncle saying we need healthy volunteers in South Florida, I knew this is the least I could do and it could save her life," said Lee.
Lee scoured Florida Atlantic University Thursday hoping to find people willing to help, but finding the right donor may be difficult. They need to have B-positive blood, be between the ages of 20 and 30, and have no immediate family history of cancer.
"Once you factor in the criteria it's a really small group of people who can donate and help my aunt out," said Lee.
Lee will have to shake a lot of hands before he finds 50 young people who meet those criteria. It's a long shot for a clinical trial that isn't guaranteed to save Rene's life, but it's a shot Lee is determined to try.
"It's an arduous task, but when you're talking about my aunt, it's an easy undertaking," said Lee.
Dr. Maharaj's office is also looking for donors with other blood types. If you would like to help, please call (561)752-5522.