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treatment? >> we hope it rescues the brain and a mother's incredible journey to help her girl. dr crystal dilworth is a molecular neuroscientist. stint she introductions us to a scientist out to change the i'm phil torres. i'm an entomologist. . that's the team, let's do some science. bsh [ ♪ music ] hey, any, welcome to "techknow", i'm phil torres, joined by crystal dilworth, and shini somara.
you are about to take us on a journey, an experimental matthews. >> this is an emotional piece. we followed the retrieval of grace's umbilical cord blues cell, and we had access to where they condition those cells for treatment in the hope of saving her life. let's take a look. >> reporter: it was just after 8:30 by the time sara matthews, her mum and baby grace stepped out of the pick-up truck. and into the north carolina night. this isn't the first time they have come to the ronald mcdonald house mere duke university, and it will not be the last. they are here
for little grace. >> when did you find out that grace had the condition? >> it was a 20 week ultrasound, went to find out if it was a boy or girl. waited for the doctor to get us. she came and told us that she had bad news. >> reporter: grace had brain. >> me and my husband had been married for 12 years and figured we couldn't have children and all of a sudden i was pregnant. that's where her name was grace... sorry. and to find out she has something wrong with her.
sorry. >> reporter: if you look at grace you can make out the outline of a shunt put in the day after she was born. it helps to remove fluid from the brain putting it back into the body. it should keep the head from the brain, but the swelling and fluid has caused problems to grace's brain. now doctors hope it can be reversed using cells from core blood. tomorrow she will super a treatment that will hopefully save her brain. >> reporter: the choice to save the core blood, was that mother's intuition. >> yes, it was. if it was something to would help her, we'd do all we can. >> had you read up on what core blood was and how to apply it.
>> no, i had no idea what it could do. >> reporter: it's after 10am. the matthews have been at the hospital for hours. grace has been weighed, measured and probed, she's settled into a corner room at duke's children's hospital. she's a lot more peaceful. weighed. >> not at all. >> reporter: now what happens? >> now we wait. the nurse comes in and evaluates her in here, and we wait. >> reporter: how are you feeling at this point? >> good, really good. >> reporter: this is the day grace receives an infusion of core blood, part of a study aiming to put data behind one of the most exciting areas of research, the use of core blood to heel brain injuries. she has history and a physical that was done today. everything looks good. she is set and ready for her infusion this afternoon.
>> the core blood programme at duke university is the brainchild of this doctor, more than the head of this programme. she inspired and created it. stem cell therapy has been around for a while, but not blood. >> right. the word stem cell can be confusing, because it's used in a lot of different ways. we are using stem cells from core blood, which is the baby's blood left over. it used to be discarded as chemical waste. it was discovered there is blood stem cells, and now we found out there are stem cells of many different blood and tissues and can be frozen. >> reporter: for grace now, who needs it now. it's before noon. grace is ready. now the scientists will take over and get the core blood ready. this is
where grace's core blood is stored. i'm at duke university core blood laboratory. the temperature is minus 300 farenheit. what happens is technologists take the samples out and prepare it while grace waits in the hospital room. >> this is a thermogenesis bioar chive freezer. we store cordless samples in here. >> reporter: are there many here. >> yes. this one freezer olds approximately 36 units. >> reporter: grace's core blood is being selected as we speak. >> correct. >> reporter: in the frozen bag is the medical equivalent of gold - grace's stem core blood. it was harvested at the time of birth and stored here ever suns. the lab technician will prepare it for infusion.
the process is precise, and will take more than 90 minutes. you are making sure you get every single blood cell out of the bag? >> yes. >> reporter: how many cells are in the bag? >> in this bag, 253 million. >> reporter: that's a lot of cells, it sounds like. >> it's a lot, and it's proficient young. >> after spinning and counting, it's time for the critical faz of the procedure. about. >> yes, the cells there. we'll resuspend them in the liquid left, we'll pull a sarp out, do a cell count and see what is left. -- pull a sample out, do a cell count and see what is left. >> reporter: so you are clicking every time we saw one. >> yes. cell.
>> that's a dead cell. >> reporter: the rest look perfectly healthy. 94 minutes after the process begins, grace's blood is ready. >> thank you. >> it's the greatest stem cells in this box, precious cargo. we are making our way into the hospital room where the infusion happens. time really is of the essence now. when we come back, it's go time for grace. the doctor infuses her with her core blood. but will it work? do you have full knowledge of the future potential of this technology. >> i think we are at the tip of the iceberg. we are the "techknow" gowned because we are in a sterile environment. coming up next, the future of cell therapy manufacturing.
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this policy... >> there's no status quo, just the bottom line. >> but what is the administration doing behind the scenes? >> real perspective, consider this on al jazeera america the hallway to the duke children's hospital is filled with hope. inside this cooler is grace matthew's core blood, believed to be critical to her recovering. we have been there all morning preparing for this moment. >> what happens next is i'll give them a call and let them know the cells have arrived. they'll come down and make a start. that's it. it's just a waiting game now. >> reporter: now that her blood arrived from the lab, the wait is
over. it's now just after 2:15pm. the team is ready. the the bag containing grace's cord blood is in her doctor's hands. grace suffers hydroselfa lis where excess fluid squeezes and strangles her brain. she'll have the condition for life. the doctor hopes this will had hep her have normal cognitive ability. will this repair the brain damage? >> not that the cells replace other cells in the brain, but they give signals for other cells to come and repair the injury.
[ crying ] >> we want to . >> reporter: how long does this part take? >> 5 to 7 minutes. it's dripping in from here. so... vain. >> how important is the treatment for grace? >> very important. we hope it helps with what happened invite roe. >> reporter: there's a lot of blood that comes from the core
blood, but only part of it is what you need. >> when we collect the core blood, there's only one or 2 billion cells, but only a small fraction are the important cells. there are probably only 20 real stem cells in the whole election. we don't know what they look like. we know that they are in there, and when we give the unit back, they'll be contained in the other criminals. we don't know how to pull them out. beside the 20 or so stem cells, there are a couple of hundred thousands. they have made the decision to be a heart muscle. eyelid, blood or brain cell.
when we infuse them back, they are the ones that go damaged organs and do the real job of helping. >> grace is not alone. across the country a little girl does what she loves - swings on the swing and plays with her big sister and mum and dad. 6-year-old grace rosewood can do a hand stand now. >> well done. >> reporter: i wouldn't be able to do that. and give me a high five. all things she couldn't possibly do a year ago. >> we were headed in a very bad direction with what she was going to be able to do in her line. i felt like she was in a prison of her body.
i felt she was trapped and traited. >> reporter: grace was ipp fused with -- infused with core blood at the duke hospital. her treatment ended in 2013. treatments? >> it's been the miracle of our lives. this wonderful thing that could have happened for a family and grace. for ava, she wanted to play with her sister and connect with her somehow. if the future of cord blood had
been written, it's written in a lack duke called the g.m. t lap. getting this is not easy, and it requires a bit of a wardrobe change. sterility is essential. what happens here? >> this is where we manufacture the cells we are making from score blood for treatment. >> reporter: just so i understand, you identified cells that are useful. you are trying to recreate those particular ones. >> yes. >> reporter: you are recreating those particular ones because you know they can treat certain brain diseases. >> yes. we have taken new cells and put them in an animal with certain problems. >> reporter: so with the case of grace, she's had several treatments now. but part of the core blood was saved. from that, are you able to
needs. >> well, for example, these are the cells she needs. we are at the point where we can recreate the criminals. if she needs a different cell we have to learn to create a different kind of sell. we are focussing on the brain. this is the right cell for her treatment. we recommend that we save back a little core blood to manufacture more cells that could be effective in treatment. >> reporter: back at the hospital, grace's long day is just about over. went? >> it went great, she did well. >> reporter: thank you so much. >> you're welcome. >> you're good to go. >> thank you. >> bye. >> reporter: long day.
>> very. >> reporter: you must be ready to go home and rest. >> yes, go to sleep. ready. how personally rewarding is stem cell technology for you? >> for me it's rewarding because i have seen it help people, which is the most reboarding thing a physician can do. also it has enormous potential to do a lot more than we can do today, and i potentially believe this cell therapy and regeneralive med tin will be the next big advance in medicine and core blood may drive that. you know, i was so moved by doing this story, and not only moved, but amazed as well by the work of dr curts burg, because this tech analogy -- technology has boundless potential.
i rang my sister and made sure she's banking her core blood - she is expecting soon. it's such incredible technology. >> it's so exciting. stem cells present a great and amazing potential and focus or research of the the idea that you have is undifferented cells that can become brain cells or heart cells. if we learn to interfere with different steps of the process we can address many issues. >> i never hard of this use of core blood. i imagine a lot of viewers maybe had not hard of it either. what would you tell expecting mothers about what they can do with core blood. >> i want to push the message - bank your umbilical cord blood. it's as simple as that. some people think it's expensive. there is a cost involved if you want to bank it privately. there's a zero-cost option to bank it publicly. >> what's the difference between the public and private banking.
>> if you bank publicly your stem cells are available to etch. if you bank privately you can achieve your own. when you said you were it. >> absolutely. here is a twitter picture of the team, the cameraman, audio guys, producer, all in bunny suits they call them. you guys are looking good. if you want to see more images from the field, follow us on twitter. after the break it's a favourite subject here is the "techknow". young scientists doing amazing thinks. have? >> speaking of people or cells that can be anything when they grow up, we have an inspiring young woman looking for a cure for malaria. we'll check it out next.
[ ♪ music ] hey, guys, welcome back to "techknow", i'm phil torres, here with crystal dilworth, and shini somara. you are about to introduce us to a 16-year-old, and her work as the potential to save almost a million lives every year. >> it does. treya was 13 when inspired by a family trip to cambodia. she learnt about malaria and the global problem the disease presents and that the treatments are not effective and she wanted to help do better. >> this is my first year, i have fourth place in chemistry and won the american chemical society award. it was a great experience. there's a lot of kids interested in research like me. it made me feel kind of at home. i'm 16.
my project i submitted was working with different anti-mall aerial drugs to find a way to create new compounds to be used in effective treatment of malaria. basically we are in an arms race against the malaria para site. as we evolve or treatments the para site changes and mewettates. this is causing problems in the medical world. my family has done a lot of international trips. a few years ago we went to vietnam and cambodia. i visited a village and saw a child suffering high fevers and chills. i did research and learnt that malaria was the cause of that child's suffering. at that moment i realised that malaria is not a problem that affects some small portion of the population, 300 to 400 million cases of malaria are diagnosed. i figured if we deal with a large problem there must be a
solution effective for somebody. i decided to be that somebody. based on experiences abroad i came up with a research idea and with the help of a doctor at the research institute i came up with research that i submitted to the science fair. it was great. i was in an environment full of people willing to help me out. i want to work in a laboratory in the future. finding problems that i'm passionate about, if i work hard i can try to find a solution. >> i think this is an excellent example of how getting involved early in middle school and high school can contribute to some amazing advances in science. you don't have to have a university degree to contribute. >> i'm struck by the audacity of treya. malaria boggled the minds of scientists, not just individual,
but big corporations and she comes along at the age of 16 trying to find a better cure. it's fantastic. >> i think the audacity and curiosity was nurtured by the high school that she came out of. they have a great research programme where the high school students act like researchers. they have projects, the advisor is the high school science teacher, and he helps and leads them to resources to answer their own questions instead of standing and giving answers to questions. do you guys see a little of traya in juf? >> i wish. i wish i was that driven at 16. i love it when we meet brilliant young lines, we see inventors, chemist, young doctors. it's cool to see what teenagers can come up with. >> the future of science is looking bright. >> it's looking good. today's theme was inspiration,
the inspiration of saving baby grace, and the devotion of dr curts berg, and the 16-year-old girl pushing the boundaries of scenes. i absolutely loved it. if you guys want to see more, techknow. >> dive deep into these stories and go behind the seconds at aljazeera.com/techknow. follow our contributors on twitters, facebook, google+ and >> on techknow... >> we're heading towards the glaciers >> a global warning >> is there an environmental urgency? >> that is closer than you think... >> even a modest rise, have dramatic impacts on humankind. >> how is it changing the way you live today? techknow... every saturday, go where science meets humanity... >> this is some of the best driving i've ever done... even though i can't see. >> techknow... >> we're here in the vortex... only on al jazeera america
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