Poldark fans felt the weight of Dwight’s grief this week as the doctor watched on helplessly as his daughter, Sarah died of a congenital heart condition unsuspected by Sarah’s (secretly) doting mother Caroline. (1)
Poldark is a guilty pleasure for many of our Biovault Family team, many of who live across the River Tamar from our Plymouth facility, in Cornwall. Sunday night is always an emotional rollercoaster, but this week was particularly moving for our stem cell scientists and client advisors because we know that today, our services could help Sarah.
Congenital heart defects are not uncommon. They affect 8 in 1,000 children born in the UK and occur for many reasons and appear in many forms.
One heart condition that could cause a baby as young as Sarah to die when facing a common infection is hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). In HLHS the left side of the heart doesn’t develop properly so the body is starved of oxygen. (2)
“The key is stem cells, but not just any stem cells”
At the Mayo Clinic in the US, baby Ryall has recently undergone the cord blood therapy. His parents are delighted. “A lot of children don’t make it past three months,” his father says, but the new therapy, adds Ryall’s mother, has “given me hope”.
Ryall’s cells were injected without any problems and his Dad says it feels like “a superhero” has stepped into battle for Ryalls.
The Mayo clinic has succeeded in giving the family a hopeful future: “They finally have what they feared they never would: a sense of normalcy and a chance to dream about Ryalls’ future.”
“Ryalls continues to need minor procedures to maintain the health of his heart. But now, instead of fear and worry filling the Sextons’ home, a baby’s laughter does.”(3)