Worldwide search for rare blood type to help 2-year-old girl

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SAN FRANCISO (CBS) The search is on for blood -- a very rare kind of blood.

Two-year old Zainab Mughal from Miami suffers from neuroblastoma cancer and is kept alive through frequent blood transfusions. But her blood is so rare that doctors are having to search the entire country to find just a handful of donors.

"There is about a half a percent chance of all the people we're getting blood from that we will find a match for Zainab," said the blood center's Cheryl Trott.

Zainab's blood is missing a common antigen known as "Indian B." So, those who came to donate have to be the right type, and also missing the antigen or the blood would be rejected by the little girl's body. Potential donors can only be of Pakistani, Indian, or Iranian descent, and of those who meet all the restrictions, less than four percent would be compatible.

Pouria Mojabi knows it's a long shot, but he brought his nine-month-old daughter along for motivation. "I can see how important it is and how crucial it is to figure something out for that little girl," Mojabi said.

Zainab needs at least seven regular, compatible donors to survive and so far only four have been located -- the last one in the UK. So why not take the appeal directly to Iran, Pakistan and India? Donna Farvard with the National Iranian-American Council says U.S. sanctions and restrictions do not allow the importation of blood from that region of the world.

"At the end of the day, politics should not get in the way of helping human lives and that's part of our frustration now," Farvard said.

So they will continue holding blood drives in this country, battling long odds and searching a haystack with a lot fewer needles.