CBSN

Worldwide hunt underway for rare blood to help Miami girl fight cancer

MIAMI – There is a worldwide search underway to find a matching donor for a 2-year-old Florida girl with some of the rarest blood in the world who is also battling cancer. OneBlood, a not-for-profit blood center is leading the search for Zainab, a Miami girl who is battling neuroblastoma, a very aggressive form of cancer, CBS Miami reports.

Zainab's blood is extremely rare because she is missing a common antigen that most people carry on their red blood cells. The antigen is called "Indian B" (Inb). For a person to be a possible match for Zainab, they must also be missing the Indian B antigen, or the little girl's body will reject the blood.

Locating people who are missing the Indian B antigen comes down to genetics. Statistically, the only people who are likely to be a match for Zainab are people of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, according to OneBlood. Of these populations, less than 4 percent of the people are actually missing the Indian B antigen.

OneBlood says it has found three matches so far, one near London and two in the U.S., but she will need blood transfusions for the foreseeable future, which means more donors must be found. The group says they are looking for at least seven to 10 compatible donors.

To qualify, potential donors must be exclusively of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, which means the donors birth parents also must have an exclusive ancestry, and must be blood type "O" or "A."

To see if you are compatible, go to the OneBlood page created for Zainab. All donations must be coordinated in advance to ensure compatibility.

OneBlood, which runs blood donor centers across the Southeast, is sharing Zainab's story in the hopes more people who meet the specific donor criteria will come forward to donate for the little girl.

OneBlood is conducting all compatibility testing of potential donors. So far, more than 1,000 local donations, as well as donations from other parts of the country, have been tested and no additional matches have been identified.