Monday, August 27, 2018

State Lawmakers Hear Story of a Life-Saving Treatment and the California Stem Cell Agency

Pawash Kashyap and son, Ronnie
A father from Folsom, Ca., earlier this month told a state legislative committee about how his baby boy was saved through a clinical trial that was being financed by the Golden State's $3 billion stem cell agency.

"It was a blessing day for us," said Pawash Kashyap, who appeared before the Assembly Select Committee on Biotechnology,  which held a hearing Aug. 15 dealing with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the agency is formally known. Kashyab referred to the occasion when he and his wife, Upasana, received a call from UC San Francisco warning him of the immune deficiency that afflicted their baby, Ronnie.

Researchers told them that the child could well die if he suffered from even a slight infection. The immune deficiency is sometimes known as the "bubble baby" disease, which has sometimes meant children were encased in plastic bubbles to stave off infections.

The problem was detected by routine newborn screening. Kashyap told legislators of their concern after learning the bad news.
"We Googled it, and nothing good was coming out of it."
Ultimately, the Ronnie was treated successfully. His father said that Ronnie has experienced potentially infectious crowds in malls and elsewhere and that he is doing "fantastically well."

Ronnie is now the "cover baby" on CIRM's annual report, which was praised by one lawmaker, Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego. He said the report told the nearly 14-year, CIRM story in understandable and compelling language.

The full hearing can be seen here and downloaded. Kashyap's brief remarks begin at 55:36 into the video (he spoke without a prepared text). An audio file is also available at the same URL.

Here are links to the remarks at the hearing by CIRM CEO Maria Millan, CIRM Vice Chair Art Torres, patient advocate Don Reed, Jan Nolta, head of the UC Davis stem cell program, and David Jensen, publisher of this web site.

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