Can stem cell transplantation stop a rare, fatal disease?

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Can stem cell transplantation stop a rare, fatal disease?

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By Ann Parson UNION-TRIBUNE December 14, 2006 Oregon physicians have inserted stem cells into the brain of one child with Batten disease, an always fatal, untreatable brain disorder. They plan to do the same with five other children within the coming weeks. Every illness is cruel. But one that goes beyond cruel is Batten disease, a fatal brain disorder also known as neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. An infant will develop normally for a while, only to start experiencing seizures and regress neurologically. Fading vision, changing behavior and deteriorating mobility can alert parents that something is terribly wrong. Then, piling insult upon injury, as the child’s mental decline grows more acute, parents are apt to encounter “misdiagnose after misdiagnosis,” as one mother described it. Because of its extreme rareness, many doctors fail to identify the disorder. Last month, in an unprecedented and gutsy move, a team of doctors at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital on the campus of Oregon Heal

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