Consultants throw cold water on United States doctor's 'magic potion' for Charlie Gard

Francis Osborne
July 18, 2017

Professor Michio Hirano, a neurologist at Columbia University Medical Centre in NY, has collaborated with institutions including Cambridge University, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

Connie Yates is due to attend a meeting of specialists which has been organised as part of the latest stage of a court fight over whether Charlie should be given experimental treatment in America.

Charlie's parents are battling to take their child to the United States to receive nucleoside therapy, and Hirano's visit is part of their ongoing battle with Great Ormond Street hospital.

Doctors from Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie is hooked up to life support machines, have said the tot will die from the illness. The case attracted global attention after Pope Francis and President Donald Trump weighed in.

Hirano was invited to make the visit after offering an experimental gene therapy he believes has a 10% chance of improving muscle strength and bringing a "small but significant" improvement to Charlie's brain function.

Hirano, who has been providing evidence to the High Court via video link, suggested that now, there is clinical data that were not available in April, and he thought the therapy was "worth trying".

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On Thursday, Hirano told Justice Nicholas Francis that the baby's MRI scan did not necessarily indicate structural damage to the brain.

It is not clear if Hirano or the other doctor have performed the experimental therapy on other mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome patients, however, it is known that he is an expert on this particular syndrome and has published several research articles on the subject, most of which, however, involve animal models.

Charlie's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have raised £1.3 million (US$ 1.7 million) to take the baby to the USA for nucleoside therapy.

The court battle continues.

The Vatican said Pope Francis was following the case with "affection and emotion" and "expresses his own closeness to his [Charlie's] parents".

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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