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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 12:49 GMT
Ataxia sufferer's stem cell hope
Angie McDonald
Angie McDonald has raised the money for her treatment
A woman is thought to be the first person in the world to be undergoing stem cell treatment for a rare neurological condition.

Angie McDonald, 32, of Oxton, Merseyside, is travelling to the Netherlands to undergo the procedure to combat Friedreich's Ataxia.

The condition is caused by a faulty gene which affects her balance, co-ordination and speech.

She is undergoing the treatment abroad as it is not available on the NHS.

The technique involves injecting stem cells from the umbilical cords of healthy full-term babies into her bloodstream and the base of her skull.

I'd just like to be able to walk again on my own, I'd like to wear high heels again
Angie McDonald

It has had some success with multiple sclerosis sufferers but Ms McDonald is thought to be the first Friedreich's Ataxia sufferer to undergo the treatment, which is offered by the PMC clinic in Rotterdam.

"They've given me a reduced price because I'll be the first person in the world - I'll be a guinea pig," she said.

"I'd just like to be able to walk again on my own, I'd like to wear high heels again.

"I want to go travelling and see the world rather than count on people to get me things and take me places.

"If it works it will be wonderful, it would be the best Christmas present anyone can ask for but if it doesn't I'll just go back to being happy and enjoying my life."

The fee for her treatment, which has not been disclosed, was paid for by a series of fundraising events organised by Ms McDonald's friends and family.

Stem cells tailored to patients
20 May 05 |  Health


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