Blind toddler's China therapy starts8th May 2009
Treatment has started for Joshua Clark, a 22-month-old blind boy: 8,000 miles away from his home in Wales.
The toddler was flown to the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou to receive stem cell therapy at a specialist hospital there, in the hope of restoring his vision.
He began receiving treatment in Hangzhou, which is near Shanghai, China's second city.
The boy's grandfather said Joshua, who is from Caernarfon, Gwynedd, was doing well.
The trip came after a fund-raising campaign by Joshua's family raised around £40,000 to finance the treatment.
The family was told by doctors in the UK that there was no treatment available for Joshua's condition, known as optic nerve hypoplasia.
Blindness can be caused when the nerves carrying visual information to the brain are small or poorly developed.
Nonetheless, the family, including mother Joanna and father Anthony Clarke, together with grandmother Gill Doughty, travelled to China at the beginning of May.
Treatment began last week with a stem cell infusion in Joshua's foot, according to his grandfather, Kevin Doughty.
Further infusions will continue, every four days, until treatment is concluded.
Doughty, himself a doctor, said the boy's parents had decided to go to China based on both medical judgment and an instinct to seek a cure for their child.
The family is hoping that the treatment will restore at least some of Joshua's vision.
Doughty said he supported the parents' decision to seek what may be a 'magic bullet'.
Total treatment will take 40 days, with eight sets of stem cell treatments.
The toddler will also get help with strengthening his leg muscles for crawling and walking, using physiotherapy and electric wave therapy.
Follow-up treatment following Joshua's return to north Wales will include an hour every day in an oxygen tent.
If successful, Joshua may be able to detect light, distinguish colours and objects, and tell the difference between night and day.
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Title: Blind toddler's China therapy starts
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 11301
Date Added: 8th May 2009