Baby Asya Polatlı, who is suffering from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA-type 1*)has returned home after completing the first phase of her treatment, Cyprus Mail reported on Monday.
After Asya’s parents were unable to access the gene therapy treatment that Aysa needed to slow down the development of this life threatening disease, South Cyprus offered to pay for her treatment which costs two million euros. Asya was taken to Makarios Children’s Hospital where she received Zolgensma, a gene therapy used for infants under the age of two.
Asya’s father said that local volunteers had organised a car procession decked out with coloured balloons in the neighbourhood where they live, to celebrate her return.
Baby Asya will have to remain at home, her father said, in order to protect her from viruses which potentially could cause health complications.
He thanked the staff at Makarios hospital and President Nicos Anastasiades and all who had helped the family.
*Children with type 1 SMA show symptoms in the first 6 months of life. They have very weak and floppy arms and legs, have problems moving, eating, breathing, and swallowing and are unable to raise their head or sit without support.
Without treatment, most babies with type 1 SMA die during the first few years of life, usually as a result of serious breathing difficulties.
Gene therapy will not reverse the effects of type 1 SMA but will halt its progress. The child will then require intensive physiotherapy to improve mobility. [Ed.]