Baby Nazdana Jan was born with a urea cycle disorder, a rare genetic disease that causes a build up of ammonia in the body. Her family recently immigrated to Canada from Pakistan. Her father explained how they discovered she had a problem.
“At first she was eating, you could say feeding very well. Then she stopped. It was terrible and it was a really, really, hard time. And I can’t explain it, no words,” he said.
She is being treated at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. The best solution would have been a liver transplant, but it would have been a tricky procedure in such a young baby. If left untreated the disease would lead to brain damage and death.
The solution the hospital decided was a liver cell transplant, the first to be performed in Canada and, as Dr. Arneal Khan pointed out, a rare operation around the world. About 20 have been performed mostly in Germany and the United States.
“I found the status quo was not satisfactory for the lives of the patients because most of our patients who even survive through childhood and adulthood, they have neurological injury,” he explained.
So the doctors performed a series of liver cell transplants, with the healthy cells keeping the baby’s ammonia levels down. The aim is to stabilise those levels until Nazdana Jan is big enough for a liver transplant. She is currently doing well and stayed only seven days in hospital.
Nazdana’s father said he can’t believe how quickly his daughter has recovered. “She doesn’t look like a sick baby, she looks like a normal baby,” he said.
Dr. Arneal Khan concluded: “It’s a very big thing because even if one child can be helped in that way, I think the goal has been achieved.”
Ammonia is produced naturally in the human body. People with urea cycle disorders have a reduced ability to convert ammonia to urea, which is harmless. The condition is incurable.
Baby Nazdana is now being monitored and, because the cell transplant is akin to a full organ transplant, is on anti-rejection drugs.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Watch: Passengers ‘push-start’ frozen plane in Siberia | euronews, world news
- 3Le Pen: I admire ‘cool head’ Putin’s resistance to West’s new Cold War | euronews, interview
- 4What will you ask US Senator John McCain? | euronews, world news
- 5Which countries in Europe cause the most air pollution damage? | euronews, world news
- 6McCain blasts Europe’s approach to Ukraine conflict ‘a joke’ | euronews, the global conversation
- 7Moldova pro-EU parties take narrow lead in elections | euronews, world news
- 8NATO joins search for ‘Russian submarine’ off Scottish coast | euronews, world news
- 9Ukraine reports accident at Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant | euronews, world news
- 10Grenoble: Europe’s first ad-free city | euronews, world news
- 11Crude awakening: Romania’s Black Sea oil and gas finds fuel Europe’s energy hopes | euronews, reporter
- 12European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
- 13The American Century comes to an end as China becomes the world’s largest economy | euronews, economy
- 14Irony as organised crime prosecutor arrested for corruption in Romania | euronews, world news
- 15Israeli warplanes hit targets in Syria | euronews, world news
- 16Germans demand honour for Turkish woman beaten to death | euronews, world news
- 17Obama’s ‘risky’ immigration gamble | euronews, world news
- 18Chechen ‘death’ unit fighting with rebels in eastern Ukraine | euronews, world news
- 19International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 20Belgium’s former queen Fabiola dies at 86 | euronews, world news