Controversial stem-cell treatment to continue for toddler

Celeste Carrer, 2, in row after probe halted therapy

Controversial stem-cell treatment to continue for toddler

(ANSA) - Venice, August 31 - A Venice court on Friday ordered controversial stem-cell treatment on a toddler from Venice, believed necessary to save her life, to continue in a Brescia hospital. The treatment had resumed a week ago on a judge's order after they were halted by a probe in May. Celeste Carrer is the two-year-old at the centre of a controversy involving the treatment. Infusions of adult stem cells taken from the child's mother resumed under the care of pediatrician Dr. Marino Andolina. Over the past year and a half, Celeste has received stem-cell transplants from her mother's bone marrow to treat her spinal muscular atrophy, which causes the toddler's muscles to waste away. Celeste was reportedly able to move her neck, arms, and legs following an earlier treatment. However, her treatments were halted in May when a Turin prosecutor launched an investigation into the Stamina Foundation, the stem-cell research group that carried out her treatments at the Brescia hospital. Police raided the hospital in May, blocking treatment for numerous other patients, according to staff. The case returns to the courtroom next Tuesday, when judge Margherita Bortolaso, who had allowed this week's treatment to resume, will make a final ruling. Stem-cell treatment, which is legal in Italy in life-threatening instances, is contentious since it sometimes involves the destruction of a human embryo. Italy banned the use of embryos in stem cell research in 2004, and in 2007 Italian researchers obtained adult stem cells they said were just as good as embryonic ones.

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