Helen Obando Is The Youngest To Successfully Undergo Sickle Cell Therapy – Moms

Posted: January 15, 2020 at 1:45 pm

Sickle cell disease is a painful condition that thousands of kids have to endure. The genetic disease impacts the blood, but it can cause organ damage and other issues, including lots of pain.

Most of the time there is no end in sight, which makes it even harder on families. But the bravery of one teen is helping scientists to develop a potential cure that could change the lives of so many.

Helen Obando recently became the youngest person to ever go through a special gene therapy using stem cells.

The usual treatment for sickle cell therapy is a bone marrow transplant form a healthy sibling, but Helen's older sister Haylee also has sickle cell, so that isn't really an option for the family.

The Obandos were excited to learn about an experimental treatment that has the potential to flip the switch on the genetics and actually cure the disease.

Scientists are hoping that the new treatment could help people with a number of genetic conditions using a technique to manipulate the DNA.

Helen had to spend four weeks in the hospital after her infusion to get strong enough to go home, and they don't know yet if the treatment has worked.

The poor girl has gone through a lot. Her pelvis was harmed before she even turned 1, and at 2, her spleen had to be removed. She's had a lot of painful episodes, and while Haylee was able to match with their younger brother Ryan for a bone marrow transplant, that wasn't an option for Helen.

In the Boston Globe, Helen's mom said that she was scared of the gene therapy option when she first heard of it. But she decided that it was worth the risk to have a chance at being healthy.

Six months since the treatment, it's so far, so good. Helen's hemoglobin levels are at a point that she has never achieved. She actually has no signs of sickle cell right now, and that is just amazing.

What a brave girl to go through a risky procedure.It's a big burden for a teenager to bear, but luckily things have worked out well so far. We hope that Helen continues to find success and health in the new year.

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Helen Obando Is The Youngest To Successfully Undergo Sickle Cell Therapy - Moms

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