Indian family in the UK opts for revolutionary treatment for child with cerebral palsy
A seven-year-old child of Indian-origin with cerebral palsy is going to the United States for a treatment that may improve the quality of his life. If it succeeds, it will give hope to others with neurological disorders.
The child, Jay Shetty, has a debilitating form of cerebral palsy and autism from birth. He cannot walk, talk, or sit up, without help.
Jay is now set to undergo a pioneering clinical trial at the Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina. The treatment relies on the infusion of his younger brother's umbilical cord blood frozen at birth.
His parents did a lot of research on stem cells. Even before the second child was conceived, they had taken a decision to save the child's cord blood. Towards the end of the second pregnancy in 2015, the parents got in touch with Duke University. They were told the university was planning on doing a sibling cord blood therapy trial.
The couple had the umbilical cord blood of their younger child frozen and stored.
The umbilical cord blood is rich in a kind of stem cell that can, in theory, help heal most parts of the body. It does this either by stimulating growth, or by transforming into the required type of mature cell.
These can then be put back into the body, even many years later. It relies on a close tissue match for the recipient, to lower the odds of the body rejecting it.
The family is from Maharashtra. They have been living in London for over 15 years. They are determined not to be put off by the negative voices within the medical community, who cast doubts on the rare procedure.