Anxious wait after overseas treatment

A CRITICALLY ill man who received pioneering treatment overseas has returned to Essex as he waits to find out if it has been successful. Ron Bousfield suffers from the debilitating consequences of motor neurone disease (MND) which has attacked his speech and movement.

A CRITICALLY ill man who received pioneering treatment overseas has returned to Essex as he waits to find out if it has been successful.

Ron Bousfield suffers from the debilitating consequences of motor neurone disease (MND) which has attacked his speech and movement.

Earlier this year, Mr Bousfield and his wife Ann were told about groundbreaking treatment being carried out in America involving stem cell replacement to halt the effects of MND.

The muscle-wasting disease affects about 5,000 people in the UK and sufferers have a life expectancy of just 14 months after diagnosis.


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After a series of false starts and dashed hopes, the couple from Wivenhoe, near Colchester, got the green light to fly to Mexico where the clinic had been forced to re-locate after the US Government halted the procedure until a licence could be granted.

Last night, Mrs Bousfield, 56, said the month-long trip to Puebla had been "more like a nightmare" but her husband's £15,000 treatment had gone well.

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Mrs Bousfield who has been battling breast cancer, said: "The whole process was very slow because they got us out there too early.

"Unfortunately Ron was quite ill when we got there and was unable to swallow anything. He went 10 days and had not drunk or eaten anything – he was so dehydrated and weak."

After the additional worry and waiting for the blood supplies to arrive, Mr Bousfield finally received two transfusion sessions where he was given five units of blood.

The treatment has been subject of criticism in the US because of the use of stem cells from babies' umbilical cords, but the couple said they did not mind as long as it worked.

"It did not take long - it was like having a blood transfusion. Some people see the changes within a few weeks, others go months before they see anything. Nobody really knows because it is all so new.

"It is a relief that it is all finished now – the doctor is pleased it went well. I just want to thank everyone in Wivenhoe and at work for their support during this," she said.

Mr Bousfield, a former builder, was part of the first group of MND patients to receive the treatment in Mexico and was joined by three other people from England, where it is not yet available.

Before the process was halted in America, fewer than 50 people had received stem cell transfusions which is an action constantly undergoing research and development.

Generous employees at Manheim Auctions in Frating, near Colchester, helped raise more than £13,000 towards the cost of Mr Bousfield's treatment and flight costs.

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