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5-month-old first in England to receive pioneering new drug on the NHS for spinal muscular atrophy

A five-month-old baby with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) became the first NHS patient in England to be treated with a potentially life-saving new gene therapy.

Arthur Morgan was diagnosed with SMA in early May, and received the one-off US-developed gene therapy, Zolgensma, on 25 May at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

SMA is a genetic condition in which muscles progressively get weaker, causing problems with movement that impact walking, swallowing, speaking and often breathing. The condition gets worse over time, but there are treatments to help manage the symptoms. 

SMA is the leading genetic cause of death for infants, and until two years ago there were no treatment options available for the condition.

The new US gene therapy Zolgensma could help babies develop the ability to sit, crawl and walk after treatment, and can also prevent them from having to be put on a ventilator.

Zolgensma has been called the most expensive drug in the world, at a list price of £1.79 million per dose.

The treatment was made available on the NHS in March after the health service struck a deal with American manufacturers Novartis Gene Therapies.

Arthur’s father, Reece Morgan, described how he noticed Arthur started to slow down with his movements after two months of being born. He took his son to the hospital after a GP said “age would correct itself”.

The earlier Zolgensma is used for SMA the better, with pre-symptomatic treatment shown to give the very best possible outcomes. Early diagnosis and treatment is vital to success rates and campaigners are calling for newborn screening for the condition to be introduced in the UK.

Morgan also said: “When we found out that Arthur would get the treatment, and be the first patient, I just broke down”.

“It had been such a whirlwind few weeks, filled with lots of anxiety and adjustment, as we learnt about his condition and what it might mean for him and our family”.

He went on: “We still don’t know what the future will hold, but this gives Arthur the best possible chance to give him the best possible future”.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens also said: “It is fantastic news that this revolutionary treatment is now available for babies and children like Arthur on the NHS”.

“Zolgensma is the latest example of the life-changing therapies that the NHS is now routinely using to transform the lives of patients and their families”.

Secretary for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “I am so glad young Arthur can access this potentially life-changing treatment on the NHS. I hope it grants his family and many others renewed hope that more children’s lives can be transformed”.

“It is wonderful to see the NHS focusing on providing the very best treatments for children with conditions such as Arthur’s. If we invest in such medical innovations now, we will only continue to reap the societal rewards further down the line, as Arthur and his family already are. We wish them the very best”.

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

Thanks to the support from people like you, last year a major attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Domestic Abuse Bill with two extreme abortion proposals failed, in a major pro-life victory.

Unfortunately, this is not the end for our opposition.

We are currently facing major threats on five separate fronts:

  1. Pro-abortion MP Rupa Huq has brought forward an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to introduce a jail term of up to two years if a pro-lifer offers support or advice to a woman near an abortion clinic. This is a threat to unborn babies and to freedom of speech.
  2. The assisted suicide lobby has brought forward a bill to legalise assisted suicide, which was introduced to the House of Lords on 26 May.
  3. The Northern Ireland Secretary has given himself new powers to force expanded abortion services on Northern Ireland.
  4. The abortion lobby is further exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to attempt to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions available permanently.
  5. The abortion lobby is expected to make another attempt to change abortion law to allow abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth.

If these major threats from our opposition are successful, it would be a disaster. Thousands of lives would be lost. 

Fighting both the abortion and assisted suicide lobbies over this period has already made a huge dent in Right To Life UK's limited resources.

To cover this gap and ensure we effectively defeat these proposals during this period, we must raise at least £200,000.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to please give as generously as you can. Every donation, no matter how small, will make a significant difference.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a special gift right now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?

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