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Vatican hospital urges new treatment for Charlie Gard

By Scott D'Arcy

Researchers at the Vatican children's hospital have implored Charlie Gard's doctors to reconsider allowing an experimental treatment to be used, citing "new information".

Clinicians from the Bambino Gesu paediatric hospital's neurosciences department said tests in mice and patients with a similar, but not the same, genetic condition had shown "dramatic clinical improvements".

A spokesman for the Rome-based institution said the letter, posted on the charliesfight.org website hours after the boy's parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard met Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) medics, had been sent by the hospital.

Ms Yates said her son was "not in pain or suffering" and she had been given hope by international attempts to come to Charlie's aid, including from the Pope and US President Donald Trump.

In the letter, the researchers said the nucleoside therapy for Charlie's condition was "experimental" and should be tested on mice first.

But they added: "However, there is insufficient time to perform these studies to justify treatment for Charlie Gard, who has a severe encephalomyopathy due to RRM2B mutations."

They "respectfully advocated" that in light of what they called "important new information" from unpublished lab tests on mice, which found improvements when the drug was injected into the central nervous system, GOSH should reconsider Charlie's treatment.

Charlie inherited the faulty RRM2B gene from his parents, affecting cells responsible for energy production and respiration and leaving him unable to move or breathe without a ventilator.

The couple, both in their 30s and from west London, want to take him to a hospital in the US but lost a lengthy legal battle after judges ruled in favour of doctors at GOSH, who argued the treatment would not improve the 11-month-old's quality of life.

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