Page last updated at 08:22 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 09:22 UK

Blind boy starts China treatment

Joshua Clark
On his return home Joshua Clark will have to spend an hour a day in an oxygen chamber for a year

A blind boy flown to China for stem cell therapy to try and improve his sight has started to receive treatment.

Joshua Clark's grandfather said so far the 22-month-old from Caernarfon, Gwynedd, was "doing very well."

He and members of his family flew from the UK last week after an appeal raised more than £40,000 to cover the costs.

Joshua has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia - where small or poorly developed nerves connecting to the brain can cause blindness.

Doctors in this country had said there was no treatment.

Joshua, his parents Anthony and Joanna, and grandmother Gill Doughty arrived in China a week ago.

Joshua's grandfather, Dr Kevin Doughty, 54, said: "Josh had his first stem cell infusion in his foot on Monday and will have further infusions every four days.

Without any treatment, there was no hope
Dr Kevin Doughty, grandfather

"He is doing very well. His appetite and sleep have been incredibly good since he's been there, better than at home.

"Joanna and Anthony made their judgement to go to China based on a balanced view of medical advice and human instinct.

"I am keeping my fingers crossed that little Josh will be able to see something before too long.

"Without any treatment, there was no hope, so nobody should blame any parents for looking for a magic bullet that may have a positive effect."

Joshua will have eight sets of stem cell treatments and spend 40 days in the hospital in Hangzhou near Shanghai in China.

He is also having physiotherapy and electric wave therapy to help strengthen his leg muscles for crawling and walking, Mr Doughty said.

On his return home to north Wales he will have to spend an hour a day in an oxygen chamber for a year to help the stem cell treatment.

His parents hope the treatment will allow Joshua to detect light, see colours and objects and be able to tell whether it is night or day.

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