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MEDCARE WOMEN & CHILDREN HOSPITAL leads the way in advanced Gene Therapy with 100 successful Spinal Muscular Atrophy Infusions

MEDCARE WOMEN & CHILDREN HOSPITAL leads the way in advanced Gene Therapy with 100 successful Spinal Muscular Atrophy Infusions

Tuesday, April 23, 2024/ Editor -  

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Medcare Women & Children Hospital (MWCH) in Dubai emerges as the first private healthcare facility in the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa region to administer gene therapy infusions to 100 children from around the world suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

Dubai, April 23, 2024: Medcare Women & Children Hospital (MWCH) in Dubai has announced reaching a milestone record of administering 100 gene therapy infusions on children from around the world suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a debilitating condition that affects voluntary muscle movement of children.

Medcare Women & Children Hospital emerged as the first private healthcare facility in the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Africa region to administer 100 gene therapy infusions on children with this rare genetic disorder causing the loss of motor neurons in their spinal cords. Most recently, the hospital administered three infusions in a single day, ensuring timely access to treatment for more patients. With 90 per cent of the patients hailing from Turkey, children from multiple countries including Romania, Russia, Belarus, Nepal, and Iran are also receiving treatment for the life-saving gene therapy for SMA at Medcare’s facility dedicated for women and children.

This condition, which results in progressive muscle weakening and atrophy, significantly impacts the quality of life of those affected. Classified into four primary types based on onset age and symptom severity, SMA manifests most severely in infants below six months, often leading to limited life expectancy.

Medcare Women & Children Hospital stands out as one of the few healthcare facilities worldwide that provides therapy not only to older children but also to those requiring complex care, such as ventilated children.

Commenting on this momentous achievement, Ms. Alisha Moopen, Managing Director and Group CEO of Aster DM Healthcare GCC, said, 'I am delighted to share that Medcare Women & Children Hospital has successfully treated 100 children facing the life-threatening challenge of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). This achievement not only represents hope and recovery but also highlights our dedication to advancing medical standards in the region. Medcare has emerged as a beacon of hope for families grappling with SMA. We are also pleased to be the only healthcare facility that handles the largest number of such complex cases among any private institute worldwide, which is a tremendous testament to the trust and skill set we offer as a leading healthcare destination. Known as the region's center for specialized treatments and procedures, the UAE attracts medical tourists from all over the world because of its strategic location, cutting-edge medical technology and state-of-the-art healthcare facilities. Providing specialized treatments such as the SMA Gene therapy to deserving patients is an honor for us, and we reiterate our commitment to the UAE's Vision 2031, which aims to position the country among the top ten countries in the world for quality health care.”

“I am immensely proud of the ground breaking work that Dr. Vivek Mundada and our dedicated team at Medcare Women & Children Hospital have put into treating these precious children with SMA. Our mission goes beyond treatment; it is about providing specialized support, instilling hope, and fostering a brighter future for children affected by SMA.

The battle against SMA is ongoing, but Medcare Women & Children Hospital stands firm in its commitment to making a difference. Our holistic approach to care, coupled with unwavering determination, ensures that every child receives the best possible chance at a healthier and happier life.” she added.

Dr. Vivek Mundada, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist and Head of Paediatric Neurology Department at Medcare Women & Children Hospital, said, 'We are proud of the strides we have made at Medcare in advancing SMA treatment in this region. Thanks to the dedication of our multidisciplinary team of specialists, including paediatric neurologists, pulmonologists, cardiologists, orthopaedics, physiotherapists, and gastroenterologists. We have made significant progress in combatting this disorder with our top-notch state of the art facilities.”

“Our approach goes beyond gene therapy, encompassing a comprehensive strategy to address the diverse needs of affected children. This multidisciplinary approach has solidified our position as a global destination for those seeking relief from SMA. During this journey, our team has encountered a diverse spectrum of patients, ranging from those with stable conditions to those with complex needs. On the day the hospital reached the record of administering the hundredth gene therapy, the team treated a four-and-a-half-year-old child, who was ventilated via tracheostomy, alongside an 11-month-old infant, who was remarkably stable,” he added.

Highlighting the importance of early intervention for children with SMA, Dr. Mundada said, 'Early diagnosis is key. A simple genetic test, which is not expensive these days, can confirm the diagnosis in children suspected of having symptoms of SMA. Paediatricians should be vigilant for symptoms and promptly refer such cases to a child neurologist or geneticist. Given the progressive nature of this condition, initiating treatment before symptoms manifest can yield optimal outcomes.'

“While some individuals having complex health challenges may not fully recover, our focus remains on extending their lifespan and enhancing their quality of life by minimizing complications, reducing hospitalizations, and preventing further deterioration,' he said further.

Expressing their gratitude, Mr. Arda, the father of a patient who received the SMA infusion at Medcare Women & Children Hospital on 12th March 2024, said, 'We are immensely grateful for the exceptional care and support provided by the medical team throughout our child's treatment journey. Their expertise, compassion, and dedication have been a source of comfort and reassurance during this challenging time. We cannot thank them enough for their unwavering commitment to our child's well-being and for giving us hope for a brighter future.'

 


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