Despair as man's US treatment is halted

AN ESSEX woman whose husband is terminally ill has spoken of her family's heartache after pioneering treatment for him in the United States was halted by a Government agency.

AN ESSEX woman whose husband is terminally ill has spoken of her family's heartache after pioneering treatment for him in the United States was halted by a Government agency.

Ann Bousfield is fighting breast cancer while her husband, Ron, is struggling to cope with the debilitating consequences of motor neurone disease.

Earlier this year Mr Bousfield, 57, was given a ray of hope that his deterioration from the muscle wasting disease could be halted with revolutionary stem cell treatment.

The couple from Ernest Road, Wivenhoe, were due to fly to the Institute of Cellular Medicine in Atlanta for treatment which has only been used on about 50 people worldwide.


You may also want to watch:


The procedure, which was to cost about £16,000, involves replacing stem cells or revitalising damaged ones after a blood transfusion.

But less than a week before they were due to leave they received a phone call to say that the treatment had been put on hold by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which was calling for a investigation into the process.

Most Read

Mrs Bousfield, 56, said the news had hit her husband hard and all they could do was wait.

She said: "After treating 43 patients the doctor in charge has been told there may be a need for an 'investigational new drug application' but he is not producing a new drug and he is not a manufacturer.

"We are still hopeful that it will go ahead and would like it sooner rather than later. The cases are still packed and I am not going to unpack them.

"Ron is getting quite weak these days - he is struggling to hold himself up and eating has become difficult. We are trying to keep him going because it was very disappointing when we heard the news.

"The treatment offered the hope but when that was taken away it made him quite depressed. We had to pick him up from that. There is not a great deal I can say to him other than I am trying. I will carry him there if I have to."

Stem cells are undeveloped cells usually found in embryos and foetuses – a technique that Mrs Bousfield disagreed with. But the treatment in Atlanta was to use adult cells.

Mrs Bousfield is currently receiving radiotherapy for breast cancer, which was diagnosed last October, at Essex County Hospital in Colchester.

She has also returned to work at the Manheim Auctions in Frating for the first time since the illness.

She said: "I am now doing four hours a day split by a session of radiotherapy which is usually between 11am and 12noon – it is a busy day and has taken me a while to get used to it."

Generous employees at the auctions who carried out a sponsored car journey through Europe have raised more than £13,000 for Mr Bousfield's treatment.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus