Alberta baby 'Mighty Hudson' with rare disease receives new immune system

Sept. 9: A Morinville baby with a rare disorder received a life-changing procedure in the U.S. Hudson Cowie’s parents give Su-Ling Goh an update on therapy for his immune system.

A Morinville baby with a rare disorder is recovering in Tennessee after undergoing a new procedure to give him a brand new immune system.

“Mighty Hudson” Cowie was diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) within days of his birth on June 23. The condition, known to many as “Bubble Boy Disease,” prevents his body from fighting illnesses.

READ MORE: Newborns in Manitoba to be screened for rare genetic diseases

In August, Hudson was accepted into a gene therapy program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Last week, a medical team removed some of his bone marrow cells and replaced the faulty gene with a corrected one. The cells were placed back into his body through an IV.

Once the new cells take, Hudson will have a whole new immune system.

“That’s the hope, that in about six months it will be like he’s a brand new fresh baby,” Hudson’s father Ian said.

According to Ian and his wife Hayley, the two-month-old has surpassed all expectations and is emulating his “Mighty Hudson” moniker.

Baby Hudson Cowie, known as "Mighty Hudson" in hospital in Tennessee where he is receiving a new immune system.

Supplied by the Cowie Family
Baby Hudson Cowie, known as "Mighty Hudson" in hospital in Tennessee where he is receiving a new immune system.

Supplied by the Cowie Family
Baby Hudson Cowie, known as "Mighty Hudson" in hospital in Tennessee where he is receiving a new immune system.

Supplied by the Cowie Family
Baby Hudson Cowie, known as "Mighty Hudson" in hospital in Tennessee where he is receiving a new immune system.

Supplied by the Cowie Family
Baby Hudson Cowie, known as "Mighty Hudson" in hospital in Tennessee where he is receiving a new immune system.

Supplied by the Cowie Family
Baby Hudson Cowie, known as "Mighty Hudson" in hospital in Tennessee where he is receiving a new immune system.

Supplied by the Cowie Family

The extraction of bone marrow from the hip bone is an invasive procedure, but his parents say Hudson did not even need pain medication. To prepare for the transplant, Hudson underwent two days of chemotherapy.

“He’s been through everything you can think of and he goes through it with a smile,” Ian said. “He’s just his normal babbling self.”

The initial plan was for Hudson to receive a bone marrow transplant from a donor. Hundreds attended a series of donor drives in the Edmonton region organized by family, friends and co-workers. They had their cheeks swabbed and tested to see if they were a match for Hudson or anyone else on the wait list.

Watch below (July 13): A family is hoping to find a bone marrow match through drives to help their baby who is living with Severe combined immunodeficiency or SCID. Sarah Komadina has the story.

READ MORE: Hundreds attend donor drive for ‘Mighty Hudson,’ Alberta baby with rare immune disease

In the end, the gene therapy clinical trial was deemed the safer option.

“It eliminated a lot of the risks of a bone marrow transplant,” Hayley explained. “It’s his own cells, so there’s not really the risk of rejection because his body already knows it.”

Hudson has been in isolation for the majority of his short life. He and his parents will need to stay in Tennessee for at least four more months before being able to return home.

“Right now the cells are in there but they need them to actually start doing their job,” Hayley said.

READ MORE: Family of Edmonton boy fighting leukemia given unexpected gift: ‘It’s a huge help for us’

The family will not have to foot a hefty hospital bill because the procedure is a clinical trial. Hudson’s parents are thankful for the opportunity to take part in the leading-edge procedure.

“It’s crazy how far medical science has come,” Ian said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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