Romanian boy seeks treatment for rare disease in Vietnam

TN News

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Vietnamese doctors are considering admitting a boy from Romania with a rare inherited disease for treatment, after receiving a request letter from his father, the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported Thursday.

Prof. Nguyen Thanh Liem, director of the Hanoi-based National Hospital of Pediatrics, said in the report that they will also seek permission from the Ministry of Health regarding the case of Emanual Bontas, who suffers from Epidermolysis bullosa (EB).

EB is a group of inherited disorders in which skin blisters develop in response to minor injury. With an incidence of one to 30,000 in the US, the disorder can vary from minor skin blisters to fatal forms that affect other organs.

Liem said Gabriel Bontas, the father of Emanual Bontas, had written to him last month, asking for advice about treatment for his son.

After learning that the disease can be treated in Vietnam with stem cell transplantation at US$40,000, compared to up to a few million dollars in the US, the father had expressed his desire to bring the son to Vietnam for treatment.

The disease could not be treated efficiently until 2008 when some US doctors introduce stem cell transplantation as its treatment, Liem said.

Doctors of the National Hospital of Pediatrics successfully treated EB for the first time using the stem cell transplant last September. The patient was a four-year-old child. Two months later, they treated another case successfully, Liem said.

According to him, Vietnam is the second country in the world to treat the disease using the new method. Despite the difference in the treatment costs between Vietnam and the US, the treatment protocol is the same, he said.

If Vietnam can treat the Romanian boy, more foreign patients will seek treatment here, he said.

Furthermore, the hospital's doctors are publishing the results of the country's first EB case to be successfully treated in an international journal, which will also attract many foreign patients to Vietnam for treatment, Liem added.

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