Rome

Italian girl who won right to stem-cell therapy dies

Stamina foundation says death fault of the legal system

Italian girl who won right to stem-cell therapy dies

Rome, June 5 - A ban on stem-cell therapy that was only recently overturned and legal snafu that delayed her treatment "have caused the death" of a two-year-old Italian girl with a severe genetic disorder, said the Italian Stamina Foundation for stem-cell research and treatment. Stamina President Davide Vannoni said on Wednesday that the girl, who died June 2, can be considered the "first death caused by the legal system". Her family, who won the right to treatment April 9 in an appeals court, said they would be pressing charges against the health ministry for voluntary manslaughter. On May 23, a law legalizing stem-cell therapy, research and permitting those who had begun treatments to continue them passed overwhelming in the Italian Senate with 259 yes votes, two nays and six abstaining. "The fact that her family won the right for her treatment in court should have made her therapy immediate, however the toddler fell fourth on the waiting list," Vannoni said. "As soon as the Senate passed the law, the child could have been cured immediately. Hopefully this will not be the first of a long series," Vannoni said. In one high-profile case last March, a father who sued in court on behalf of his son and won the right to treatment, also appealed on behalf of his daughter who was barred from receiving the therapy by another judge, but lost. Vannoni, whose research group carries out treatments at a Brescia hospital, has been battling for patients be given the choice of stem-cell treatments from Stamina laboratories, not only State-sponsored centers. With the recently passed law, the Higher Institute for Health (ISS), a state health institution for research and education, will coordinate research and therapy together with the Italian pharmaceutical agency AIFA and the National Transplant Centre. Photo: Stamina President Davide Vannoni

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