THE FAMILY of a toddler who became the first in the world to receive a pioneering medical treatment are appealing for help to research the condition.
Three year-old Scarlett Hammond was born with the extremely rare condition Congenital Hyperinsulinism, which affects around one in 50,000 people.
The illness causes the pancreas to secrete excessive amounts of insulin, causing seizures, shaking and even leading to brain injury and death.
At just 18 days-old doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital planned to remove Scarlett’s pancreas, which at the time was the only treatment available.
But after much consideration the Warwick youngster was offered an alternative treatment called Sirolimus, a drug which has enabled her to keep her pancreas but requires regular injections and blood sugar tests . She was the first child in the world to test the drug.
Dad Matthew Hammond, a building surveyor at Warwick District Council, said: “Discovering she had hyperinsulinism has obviously completely transformed our world and how we live. It is a constant battle to manage the condition and our whole lives and routine revolve around it.
“Scarlett receives four injections daily and has to go on a continuous feed overnight through a tube to keep her safe. She can’t go anywhere without her medical kit in case she has low blood sugar.”
The youngster often becomes unwell because of the condition and has to be taken to hospital on a regular basis.
But due to the treatment the family hope her condition will improve as she grows up – something which would not be possible if she had her pancreas removed.
Due to Scarlett being the first child to ever receive the treatment – which is also commonly used in organ transplant patients – there is little known about its long term effects on the condition.
The families of those who have since started using the breakthrough drug have joined forces to create the Congential Hyperinsulinism Charity, aiming to raise money to further investigate the drug – which has so far only been tested in four children.
The charity are hoping to raise £30,000 to pay for a researcher and more trials to be conducted.
Visit igg.me/at/cure-chi to donate.