Imagine of human stem cell transplant. It worked.

Imagine living in a bubble. Not one of those bubbles, that you get zipped up inside of and you get to run around for five minutes inside of a pool, but a bubble that’s six inches thick and is the only way your own body will be able to protect itself. Think about it. How do you go to the bathroom? How do you have a job? Or get to play in the park? You don’t. The birth defect that I researched is SCID, short for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency.  In the United States, the estimated diagnosed amount of babies born with SCID is 40-100 babies. It’s a rare genetic disorder, and unless you are able to live inside of a bubble your entire life you are most likely going to die two years after your first breath.     The birth defect SCID is caused by lack of T-lymphocyte and/or B-lymphocyte function also known as T and B cells. These two cells control your immune system along with NK-lymphocyte. There are many kinds of SCID, but just so I can be more specific I will be focusing on the low production of T and NK cells (X-SCID). This is the most common form of SCID which affects almost 50% of patients diagnosed with this birth defect. X-SCID is caused by a mutation in the X-chromosome which limits the production of the T and NK cell. While X-SCID does not directly affect the B cell, the B cell needs to have to T cell so it can produce antigens based off of its antibodies.  The deficiency of production of these cells in your immune system results in little to no protection from viruses coming from the outside world. Without a properly working immune system your body is highly subjectable to disease, and unless you stay in solitary confinement you will catch a virus.     You can’t prevent SCID, but fortunately, in 1968, a cure was discovered. X-SCID was among one of the first experiments of human stem cell transplant. It worked. A stem cell transplant is when a close relatives cells are transplanted into your body, for a patient diagnosed with X-SCID you would need a T and NK cell transplant. Before you know if you need a stem cell transplant you have to know if your baby is in danger, remember that SCID is only caused by genetics. If your family has had any kind of SCID in the past, your baby is at risk and should have its DNA tested. Even though testing a baby’s DNA for SCID is not common due to how expensive screening is and how rare SCID is, it should happen more often. Without knowing the parent’s medical history,  the baby might not be diagnosed with SCID for another six months. After the baby is born most likely it won’t show symptoms. The mom’s antibodies first have to stop helping the babies immune system. When the mom’s antibodies stop helping the baby, a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection is most likely to occur. This can cause for worry in any parents with a newborn, but if they have more than three different infections in a month the doctor should do a screening for any kind SCID.     You don’t have to live in a bubble, even if you do have SCID there have been advances in science. It might be a birth defect, but so is albinism. You might be born without an enzyme, and have to have an injection weekly so you can live, but your living. While SCID used to be terrifying and is still very scary, there is a cure. There is a way for you to live like everyone else. You can go to the bathroom. Have a regular job. Play in the park. All it takes is for your parents to be informed about their medical history. A great site for the family and patient is a place where you can talk to other people going through the same experiences as you. Science is improving, fifty years ago there was no hope for SCID patients and now you have the ability to live. You can and you will live longer than your first breath.