Researchers have revealed that a revolutionary treatment could save thousands of victims of cancers such as leukaemia, myeloma, lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease every year.
The technique uses stem cells, harvested from placentas discarded during a birth, to produce infection-fighting bone marrow.
Scientists hope this will be lifesaving for patients who have undergone chemotherapy or radiotherapy, which destroys bone marrow, and for people with conditions that cause immune system disorders, the Daily Express reported.
Professor Reuven Or, head of bone marrow transplantation at Israel's Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, successfully used the technique on two patients facing death after all else failed.
"We had no alternative. It was to try these cells or the patients would not survive. Within a few weeks both the lady and the seven-year-old girl were well enough to go home and remain well, Professor Or explained.
This saved the lives of 54-year-old Hanna Biton, of Jerusalem, who had lymphoma, and seven-year-old Romanian Bianca Nicolai who suffered from aplastic anaemia.atients with blood cancers have most of their bone marrow destroyed when given radiation or chemotherapy to destroy their disease.
Bone marrow transplants rebuild the body's immune system but a good match has to be found before a transplant can go ahead and up to 30 per cent fail because the body rejects the new cells.
The work will be presented at the American Society for Haematology in Atlanta in December,