A British consultant has criticised the "magic potion" treatment being offered by an American doctor who is flying to the United Kingdom tomorrow to examine Charlie Gard.
He further noted that the small number of people with Charlie's rare genetic condition, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, would make robust clinical trials hard. However, despite his credibility among British doctors and scientists, many NHS medical staff regard his intervention as unhelpful.
Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University Medical Center, who specializes in rare genetic diseases, arrived in London and will discuss Charlie's condition with doctors treating him and independent specialists. Hirano recently put the chances of Charlie improving under new experimental treatment at between 10% and 50%.
Hirano is developing an experimental therapy that has been used on at least one American patient with a similar but less severe mitochondrial disease. The hospital says Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.
The emotional case went to the UK High Court last week after the hospital requested a new hearing to consider "new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition". For the past several months, Gard's parents and the Great Ormond Street Hospital have been in a legal battle over what is in the child's best interest. The case attracted worldwide attention after Pope Francis and President Donald Trump weighed in.
People gather in support of continued medical treatment for Charlie Gard
The U.S. neurologist said reports of brain scans suggested that Charlie had brain disorder rather than structural damage.
But judges in several courts - most recently the European Court of Human Rights - told his parents that taking Charlie overseas was not in his best interests.
In addition to evaluating Charlie, Hirano will meet with doctors and others, on Monday and Tuesday, who have been caring for him.
Great Ormond Street Hospital specialists say that treatment will not work, and the little boy's life support should be turned off.