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Last Updated: Friday, 16 July, 2004, 20:43 GMT 21:43 UK
Girl trials pioneering treatment
Rachel Hammond
The new treatment has allowed Rachel to lead a normal life
A 10-year-old girl has become the first in the UK to use a drug treatment at home for a rare condition which affects her immune system.

Rachel Hammond, from Horam, near Heathfield, in East Sussex, has suffered constantly from coughs, colds and infections for most of her life.

She was diagnosed with a defective immune system, which left her inactive and breathless, three years ago.

She is now trialling a therapy which allows her to be treated at home.

Side-effects

More than 5,000 children in the UK are believed to suffer from the rare genetic condition Primary Immunodeficiencies (PIDs).

Rachel previously had to visit the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London every month, where drugs were put into her body via a drip.

The fluid containing antibodies protected her from infection.

However, the treatment took a long time and had side-effects.

Her mother Diane Hammond said there were only four or five days each month when her daughter felt truly well.

The treatment can now be self-administered using small needles that are placed into the stomach.

It works by a small pump that allows the medication to be delivered continuously for about an hour or so, and is carried out once a week in the comfort of Rachel's own home.

Rachel is now fit enough to be a member of her school swimming team and is also able to ski and abseil.




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