A severely disabled five-year-old boy from South London can finally hope to get better as he prepares to undergo a landmark operation which will see him receive a stem cell transplant from his baby brother.
Indian-origin Jay Shetty, who lives in Wimbledon, suffered brain damage at birth leaving him with severely limited mobility and sight. He requires constant care and physical therapy, in particular to avoid muscle contraction.
He has never been able to play with his younger brother Kairav, or hug his mother Shilpa or father Raj.
But hope is at hand for the family as they prepare for the pioneering operation at Dukes University in North Carolina, during which Jay will receive stem cells from Kairav’s umbilical cord.
The operation will be one of the first in the world to use such cells.
Previous stem cell transplants had used cells harvested from the patients themselves shortly after birth.
Kairav did have stem cells taken and these are the ones which will be transplanted into his older brother.
Even if Kairav’s stem cells are not a 100 percent match for Jay, it is believed that the cells may improve Jay’s condition – including his eyesight – at the very least.
The procedure could also mean a brighter future for other disabled children in the future.
Mom Shilpa told the Express: “We’re delighted Jay has been accepted for this study. We feel so bad for Jay and other children with brain damage. We just want him to have an independent life as much as possible. I am confident this can help him.”
“Like any mother I will do everything possible to make life better for my son. I am determined to find the money to pay for the cost of these therapies. How can I not when it potentially means a better life for him?”, she added.