x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Next three weeks 'critical' for transplant toddler

A boy with a rare, life-threatening genetic condition that has isolated him in an Indian hospital has received a bone-marrow transplant that might save his life.

Days after a two-year-old boy with a rare genetic condition received a bone-marrow transplant from his sister in India, his family is anxiously waiting to see if he will recover from a life-threatening illness.

The parents and doctors of Jaisen Arul Selvan, who was born in Dubai, are closely monitoring his progress, fervently hoping that the stem cells removed from his sibling will help him beat the disease.

Jaisen was diagnosed three months ago with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), an illness that is also known as the "bubble baby" syndrome. .

The family was given hope last month when doctors learned that his four-year-old sister, Janice, was a perfect donor for the bone-marrow transplant.

"The doctors have told us that the next three weeks is very critical," said his mother, Prasinna Rajaseelan. "The new cells have to grow and he is being monitored closely until he crosses the critical stage. It is a tense wait for us."

Mrs Rajaseelan said last week's transplant at a hospital in Chennai and heavy medication had taken a toll on Jaisen's body, restricting his movements. She said the medication included some small doses of chemotherapy to destroy the infected cells.

"Jaisen has lost a lot of weight. He previously used to move around, but now he doesn't even look out of the window. He has become very dull and is confined to the hospital bed," his worried mother said.

SCID impairs the immune system, leaving the body vulnerable to infection.

While Janice was under anaesthesia, doctors inserted a needle into her hip bone to take out the bone marrow - a thick, red liquid. The marrow was then placed into Jaisen's body.

The children's father, Arul Selvan Rajaseelan, said that all the family could do was "wait and watch".

pkannan@thenational.ae