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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 06:34 GMT 07:34 UK
China stem cell hope for Shonia
Shonia Tahiliani
Shonia cannot speak but understands English and Hindi
The parents of an eight-year-old with cerebral palsy are to fly to China so she can have a radical new treatment.

Kishor Tahiliani and his wife Priti believe the stem cell treatment will help their daughter Vaishnavi, known as Shonia, to lead a more normal life.

Unavailable in the UK, the treatment has been used at a hospital in Beijing to treat people with cerebral palsy.

The family, from Bournemouth, Dorset, flying out on Friday, had to raise 18,000 for the treatment.

This is the best treatment for her
Kishor Tahiliani

The money was donated by the owners of the town's Hermitage Hotel.

The treatment at Tiantan Puhua Neurosurgical Hospital sees stem cells injected into the spinal cord fluid which then flow directly into the brain.

The cells, taken from the umbilical cords of healthy babies, then develop into new nerve cells and repair some of the brain damage.

Mr Tahiliani, 34, said the treatment was due to take at least two months but the family was hoping to raise extra funds to allow their daughter to continue receiving the treatment for a third month.

He said: "It is an extensive treatment and we have enough for two months, but we need to raise more for the third month as this is recommended so she can undergo further treatment including physiotherapy as is recommended.

Caution urged

"This is the best treatment for her. There are so many children who have improved. It's amazing really."

Shonia cannot speak but understands English and Hindi. She cannot sit or walk by herself and is confined to a wheelchair.

Scope, a national disability organisation which focuses on people with cerebral palsy, urged parents to be cautious in seeking medical intervention and treatment.

A spokesman said: "Scope encounters many medical procedures that purport to alleviate symptoms of cerebral palsy, and would ask in every case whether there is the scientific research to back up claims of effectiveness."

18,000 donated to disabled girl
21 May 07 |  Dorset


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