Ms. Abrams was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1999 when she was 15. She was treated with standard COPP/ABVD protocol and radiation and attained remission quickly. However, in July 2000, she relapsed. She was referred to Dr. Mitchell S. Cairo at Columbia University Medical Center and was treated at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York.
Dr. Cairo treated Ms. Abrams with three rounds of ICE chemotherapy protocol, radiation, and an autologous stem cell transplant that was the same protocol offered at other institutions. However, the reason Dr. Cairo was chosen to treat Ms. Abrams was that he also proposed the use of Rituximab infusions and most importantly that Ms. Abrams receive an allogenic umbilical cord blood transplant. Because Ms. Abrams was a full-size adult at age 17, securing an appropriate sample was difficult. After much searching of the existing cord blood bank databases, a sample was found in Milan, Italy, and the transplant occured in June 2001.
Today, Ms. Abrams is a graduate of the University of Vermont with dual degrees in Animal Science and Geography, works as a nature educator at the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton, New York, leads spinning classes at the local gym (despite having been treated with bleomycin), and has recently applied for admission to veterinary school.
She is cured thanks to Dr. Cairo and continues to be extremely healthy with few ongoing concerns.