Rare Urea Cycle Disorder May be Reversible with a Liver Cell Transplant Procedure Performed during Infancy

A rare urea cycle disorder that approximately 50 Canadian babies are born with each year has responded well to an experimental liver cell transplant procedure. Decreasing the chance of brain damage, the procedure may offer sufferers of the disorder the chance to live normal lives. Just last month, Calgary physicians performed the procedure on a Winnipeg infant girl, Nazadana Jan. Believed to be the first of its kind, the transplant procedure was performed at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Urea cycle disorder is a genetic disease caused from the build-up of ammonia in the body. Left untreated, the disease leads to brain damage and death, with the best treatment for the condition being a liver transplant. However, newborns are not mature enough to undergo liver transplants, but thanks to a new procedure, urea cycle disorder may soon be treatable from birth. A tricky procedure to perform on a child, according to Jan’s surgeon, Dr. Aneal Khan, Jan’s liver cell transplant, if successful, may open the door to new hope for patients suffering from the urea cycle disorder. In Jan’s case, several medical geneticists performed a series of liver cell transplants in an effort to stop the progression of the condition.

The purpose for liver cell transplants is to infuse healthy cells into the infant’s system thereby keeping the infant’s ammonia levels in check and stabilize the baby’s ammonia levels until she is mature enough to undergo a liver transplant. In the case of baby Jan, the procedure appears to be working. She is currently doing well and has been discharged after her seven-day hospital stay. And, according to her physicians, Jan now “looks like a normal healthy baby.”

Liver cell transplants like Jan’s have only been performed in Germany and the United States approximately 20 times, but with great success. Naturally produced in the human body, ammonia must be converted to urea, a harmless substance, for use by the body. In the case of urea cycle disorders, a rare and incurable condition, the ability to convert ammonia to urea is reduced. Those who undergo the experimental liver cell transplant treatment must be monitored and put on anti-rejection drugs since the procedure is processed by the body much like a full organ transplant.

Any New Medical Procedure Which Reduces Brain Damage in Canadian Babies is a Welcome Addition to Medical Science

Just one more advance in reducing the number of brain damaged babies that Canadian parents take home, this liver cell transplant procedure is another step towards families forgoing the devastation of dealing with the trauma of a brain injuries or brain damage in their babies. Thousands of Canadian families annually deal with the aftermath of a medical mistake that causes long-term consequences. And while a urea cycle disorder is not a true birth injury, any medical advance that reduces the heartache of taking home a baby that is less than perfect is a welcome addition to Canadian medical science.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Assistance with a Birth Injury Claim in Canada

If you have be injured due to a birthing mistake and need assistance in the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit, consult with a lawyer experienced in birth injury litigation for a consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for the injuries that you and your family have suffered that will go a long way towards helping you financially cope with the situation. A medical malpractice lawyer can inform you of your rights and assist you in determining if you have a viable case against your doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider. For assistance, contact a Canadian personal injury lawyer today.

Written by