Macie Morse is legally blind at the age of 15. Morse was born with optic nerve hypoplasia, or ONH. In this condition optic nerves don’t develop properly in the womb. With no time-tested cure or treatment available, Macie has signed up for experimental stem-cell treatment in China. Though the stem cell therapy is being employed to treat several medical conditions, its use in children that have ONH has garnered national attention.
The experimental procedure entails infusions of stem cells taken from umbilical cords. These cord blood cells are different from the controversial embryonic stem cells. The Chinese clinic offering this treatment, Beike Biotechnology, claims success.
However, the procedure has not undergone the rigorous testing required in the U.S. The treatment lasts five weeks and costs around $30,000.
On July 4, Macie and her mother plan to leave their home in Wellington and fly to China. The money for her treatment came in through fundraisers. Both Macie and her mother are grateful for both the money and the new found possibility of better vision.