First foreign patient wants rare skin disease treatment in Vietnam

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VOV News English - 29 month(s) ago 4 readings

First foreign patient wants rare skin disease treatment in Vietnam

Vietnam's National Hospital of Paediatrics in Hanoi has received its first request from a foreigner to treat epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a rare genetic skin disease, according to the hospital director Nguyen Thanh Liem.

Liem said a Romanian man asked the hospital to treat his 10-month-old son, who suffers from the inherited connective tissue disorder caused by problems with the chemicals that hold layers of skin together.

EB is a genetic disease with an incidence of 1/50,000 in the world. Even with the most intensive care, EB patients usually die before the age of 40 and their quality of life is very poor.

The disease can be cured in Vietnam using stem cell transplant technology, Liem said.

Nguyen Viet Anh, a four-year-old boy from the northern province of Vinh Phuc, was successfully treated for EB at the hospital last September, when he underwent a bone marrow transplant that cured his lethal skin blisters.

Another bone marrow transplant was performed on a second EB patient two months ago, and he has been recovering well.

Vietnam is the second country in the world to successfully use a stem cell transplant to treat EB, after the method was officially introduced in the US in 2008.

Liem said that the hospital will need to ask for permission from the Health Ministry before it can make the decision to treat the Romanian boy.

According to the director, treating each EB patient can cost up to a million dollars in the US but just about US$40,000 in Vietnam.

The quality of treatment in both countries is equal," Liem said.

If the Romanian boy's case is successful, many other foreigners will come here for EB treatment, he added.

The hospital will soon publish the results of their first EB stem cell therapy treatment in an international medical journal.

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