A Patient’s Story

Jan Willem was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 1994. His diagnosis was the start of a remarkable journey to recovery that demonstrates the potential of T-Guard™ as a potentially life-saving treatment option.

Stem Cell Transplant

To treat his condition, Jan Willem needed a stem cell transplant. Cells in the blood of a donor, his baby daughter, proved a good match, and using a non-invasive method, enough of her cells could luckily be transferred to Jan Willem. The cells were taken from cord blood – the residual blood left in the placenta and umbilical cord, which following birth, is no longer needed by the baby. Cord blood contains all the normal components of blood, such as red-blood cells, white-blood cells, platelets and plasma. It is also rich in hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells, similar to those found in bone marrow, hence, it is an excellent alternative for transplantation.


Unfortunately, after transplantation, a serious complication arose. Jan Willem developed a life-threatening immune reaction called acute Graft versus Host Disease (GVHD). In this disease immune cells (white blood cells) from the graft tissue recognize the recipient (host) cells as ‘foreign’. The transplanted immune cells attack the host’s body cells. The condition can cause blistering of the skin, liver failure and severe diarrhea, and generally has a poor prognosis. Jan Willem’s GVHD did not respond to any normal treatment options.

Life-Saving Treatment

As a last resort, he was offered treatment with the experimental medicine, T-Guard, which was under early development at the time at the hospital where he was being treated. After just one week’s therapy with T-Guard, Jan-Willem’s health improved and the GVHD was resolved. Thirteen years on, Jan-Willem remains in good health. He holds T-Guard responsible for saving his life.

In his own words:

Find out more about Jan-Willem’s story in this video clip (in Dutch, subtitled).