Marrow transplant patient discharged

September 15, 1990|By Jonathan Bor

Allison Atlas of Bethesda, the 20-year-old woman whose search for a bone marrow donor attracted national attention, was discharged late Thursday from a Seattle cancer center after physicians pronounced her in good health.

Doctors at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center said they had saw no evidence that her leukemia had returned. Also, they found that the bone marrow donated by her mother, Arline Atlas, had grafted properly despite the fact that it was not a perfect match.

A good graft is one that produces normal amounts of red and white blood cells, as a healthy person's marrow would.

"Allison's courage has been an inspiration to all of us," her parents said in a statement released to the press. "Her courage and the outpouring of support that we have received from the tens of thousands of individuals who have come forward on her behalf gave us the faith to persevere through this ordeal."

Earlier this year, her family launched a nationwide search for a donor with perfectly matching bone marrow. Some 50,000 people showed up at synagogues in Washington, Baltimore and other East Coast locations to have their blood tested for compatibility, but the effort was fruitless.

Finally, as Miss Atlas' condition worsened, her mother donated marrow despite the fact that it matched her daughter's on only four of six cellular characteristics. A perfect match ensures the best odds of preventing bouts of rejection, which can be fatal.

Miss Atlas has experienced some low-level rejection that was controlled by drugs, a hospital spokeswoman said. Miss Atlas will remain an outpatient in Seattle for about 100 days and will then return home if there are no setbacks.

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