Stories of Hope: The Story of a South African Bubble Boy and a Gene Therapy that gave him his life back

Life is truly uncertain with its bout of ailments and untreatable diseases. This is why scientists and doctors are always in an attempt to come up with revolutionary cures and regenerative cures. And all across the globe there are miracle stories being circulated about the advanced stem cell and gene therapy and others that have cured chronic ailments. One such story is about a South African boy and his ailment. It’s Gene Therapy that has brought him back to life and made him turn a new leaf.

Born in South Africa, Ayaan Isaacs has always come across as a healthy boy. However, soon after he was born, the boy had been diagnosed with a chronic liver infection. Though he had survived the ailment, weeks later the doctors discovered that Ayaan also has an ailment that was far more dangerous than just a bad liver. It’s a rather rare ailment that left his immune system from functioning badly, to not functioning at all.

This boy got diagnosed with SCID that stands for X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency. This ailment is commonly referred as a “bubble baby” ailment. Patients suffering from this ailment are prone to infection and are required to live in an absolute germ-free environment. It has been estimated that the SCID patients can walk back to complete cure when subjected to a complete blood stem cell transplant. But for this having a genetically matched donor is essential. However, Ayaan didn’t receive any matched donor. Hence, the outcome wasn’t a positive one.

The little boy’s parents in a desperate attempt to cure Ayaan had said yes to an alternative treatment. This was a clinical trial that was taking place in the St. Jude’s Children’s Research hospital located in Memphis, Tennessee. This trial was aimed to head SCID patients with a stem cell gene therapy that attributes the patients with a completely new immune system. This therapy is all about taking the blood-forming stem cells of the patient and then treating the mutation which leads to SCID. The cured blood stem cells are usually transplanted back to the patient. It is here that a new and healthy immune system gets build.

Thankfully, Ayaan was successful in enrolling on this mentioned clinical trial. Apparently, he happened to be the very first child in the entire African continent to have access to an advanced gene therapy. His journey towards fighting with the bubble boy ailment was talked about all across South Africa. The gene therapy that Ayaan was treated to helped him revive back to life. It is essential to understand that the therapy is an experimental one. Hence, at times complications might come up. However, one must always walk ahead with courage and make the most of the treatment.

Ayaan was also featured in many videos narrating his story. It gave hope and courage to millions, who are fighting similar debilitating life threatening ailments. And considering the fact that one boy went ahead with a regenerative treatment is ample courage to many who are ailing from SCID. Today, akin to SKID there are several diseases that are not heard of. Often doctors remain unsure as to how to go about treating the ailment as there’s always a first time to a chronic ailment. However, today stem cell gene therapy and cord blood stem cell treatment has been helping patients to combat serious ailments.

Furthermore, what gains importance through such stories is that, parents and families should count in for cord blood stem cell banking without a doubt. Whether you’re a donor or a receiver, the fact that your cord blood can cure you and others, ensures the miracle that life is.


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