Doctors in India perform a risky bone marrow transplant on a 10-year-old boy from Iraq, to treat his rare genetic skin disease

Doctors at SafeMedTrip affiliated Hospital in India say they have successfully performed a risky bone marrow transplant on a 10-year-old boy from Iraq, to treat his rare genetic skin disease, Epidermolyasis Bullosa. Only seven people in the world had overcome the disease till now, and Ahmed is the eighth, the doctors said.
When Ahmed first started developing tight skin around major joints in his body, it was thought to be a strange epidemic disease. Weighing just 17kg before the surgery, he was unable to eat anything as he
found it hard to open his mouth. His skin became so fragile, that it used to blister or peel off at the slightest touch. After Ahmed came to India, doctors diagnosed him with the skin disorder, Epidermolyasis Bullosa, one of rarest diseases in the world.

“The upper layer of the skin becomes extremely fragile. Due to contractures at major joints, patient finds it difficult to stand straight and walk properly. This boy, for instance, also found it hard to open his mouth, as skin around his mouth was very tight,” said the specialists.

Talking about the cause of the disease, the specialist said that the disease is caused by a missing protein in the genetic constitution of an individual. “As parents of the child are blood relatives, collegial was missing in genes of both the parents and thus the child developed this disease,” he said.

Doctors at Fortis decided to go ahead with a bone marrow transplant for Ahmed after six children suffering with the disease were treated successfully in the US. “Generally, BMT is done in cases of leukemia, thalassemia, bone marrow failure and immune deficiency.

However, a bone marrow transplant has also been found to be the best treatment for Epidermolyasis Bullosa,”
“This is the first time that a bone marrow transplant has been used to cure the disease in the country,” he added. The transplant was performed six weeks.

“The skin of the patient started healing within three weeks of the transplant. Now, after six weeks, his knee and wrist joints are almost 70% more functional. He also had several wounds on his body, which are healing nicely. A slight increase in his weight has also been recorded now that he has started eating better,”.

Ahmed’s father, who runs a business in Bagdad, said that the treatment has been a life changing event for the family. The treatment has also served as a beacon of hope for his cousin, who too suffers from the same disease..

“My son is now able to move his elbow, knee and the wrist joint. He can open his mouth wide open and eat well. We thank India to offer innovative treatment to my child. I hope more children like my son can get benefit of the treatment in India,” he said.

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