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Historic Breakthrough in Fighting Children's Batten Disease as China Stem Cells Give New Lease on Life to 6 Year Old California Boy

BEIJING, January 30, 2008 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Tiantan Puhua Hospital Stem Cells Center ( ), the worldwide leader in using stem cells to effectively treat Parkinson's and other neurological diseases, announced another historic first in successfully using stem cells to improve and potentially prolong the life of 6 year old California native Blake Dell'Aringa. Blake was a normal, happy toddler until last year when diagnosed in America with what has been widely thought an untreatable genetic disorder occurring primarily in children called "Batten Disease". Due to a missing gene, the disease causes sudden, rapid degeneration of the nervous system and always ends in premature fatality, often between the ages of 6 and 12. After undergoing Tiantan Puhua's comprehensive stem cell therapy program in Beijing, Blake's family is now reporting a significant reversal in the recent swift deterioration of Blake's motor skills, giving real hope that he will live long enough for a scientific cure to be found. More on Blake can be found at .

Blake's mother Dawn said, "Our world was just rocked when Blake was diagnosed with Batten Disease. Now, every second of his life is meaningful to us. Going all the way to China wasn't our first choice, but it was almost our only choice and definitely the right one as Blake has had clear improvement since he's returned. Every day he's stronger and stronger than before. Tiantan Puhua has given Blake real hope."

Blake's parents decided to bring him to Beijing after first being allowed to participate, but then later rejected just days before commencing treatment, in one of America's only federally authorized stem cell trials in the State of Oregon. As is often the case in the West, patients like Blake can be blocked or delayed for political reasons when seeking stem cell treatment for life threatening illnesses in their home countries.

Blake's stepfather Jeremy Jaeger, who accompanied him to Beijing said, "Stem cells in America can be very political, but I really don't understand or even care so much about that. My only concern is in providing the absolute best care in the world for Blake and ensuring he gets what he deserves. Everyone in China was so great to us and we are really glad we went."

Blake's mother Dawn, who remained in California for the two months of Blake's stem cell therapy in Beijing, was amazed to see distinct improvements upon his return. Since Blake's return to California, she reports that his hands are unclenched and are no longer spastic. Blake now has his grip back and is clapping his hands. As well, after the treatment, Blake is holding his head up about 90% of the time compared with only 40% before. Cognitively Blake has also become more alert and is smiling more often, while attempting much more communication with his mother and father.

More on Blake's improvements after his return from china can be found on his blog at: .

Batten Disease is named after the British pediatrician who first described it in 1903. Also known as Spielmeyer-Vogt-Sjogren-Batten Disease, it is the most common form of a group of disorders called Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses, or NCLs. Due to a genetic defect at birth, over time those with NCL suffer progressive nervous system breakdown leading to mental impairment, worsening seizures, increasing loss of sight and motor skills until shortly before death they become blind, bedridden, suffer dementia, and are incommunicable. Although Batten Disease is usually regarded as the juvenile form of NCL, it has now become the term to encompass all forms of NCL.

Blake suffers from Late Infantile NCL, (Jansky-Bielschowsky Disease), which begins between ages 2 and 4. This form progresses rapidly and always ends in death sometime between ages 8 and 12. The typical early signs of this type of NCL are loss of muscle coordination known as ataxia and seizures, along with progressive mental deterioration. Blake has suffered all these symptoms in the past year. Batten Disease/NCL as a whole is relatively rare worldwide, occurring in an estimated 2 to 4 of every 100,000 births in the United States according to several sources. Currently, there is widespread belief in global medical circles that premature death from this life-limiting disease is non-preventable. Tiantan Puhua Hospital has once again proved that its cutting edge stem cell therapy and comprehensive professional medical care can prolong and improve the life of patients suffering from previously thought untreatable nervous system disorders.

"When considering all options in the US and globally for Blake, I realized that Tiantan Puhua Hospital was the most qualified place to turn to due to the rational price of the procedure and treatment. After experiencing the wonderful level of care from everyone in China, I know we were right to choose Beijing. We are considering a second trip back," said Jeremy Jaeger.

About Tiantan Puhua Neurosurgical Hospital

Tiantan (Temple of Heaven) Puhua Neurosurgical Hospital, a Hospital under TP Biomedical Ltd., is a world-class neurological treatment facility in Beijing that is gaining renown as the world's foremost center for treatment of Parkinson's disease, brain injury, and a range of other neurological disorders through its groundbreaking stem cell therapy. The Hospital collaborates with the Stem Cells Research Center of Peking University, which is the foremost stem cells research center in China. There, stem cells are cultured for clinical application. To date, Tiantan Puhua Hospital has treated with stem cells over 60 international patients suffering from a range of neurological disorders. More details about Tiantan Puhua Hospital can be found on the website .

    For more information, please contact:

     Dr. Sherwood Yang -- Vice President,

     Tiantan Puhua Neurosurgical Hospital

     Tiantan Nanli, Beijing 100050, CHINA

     International Department

     Tel:   +86-156-0103-0031



More information can also be found on China's leading stem cells news site:

CONTACT: Dr. Sherwood Yang, Vice President, Tiantan Puhua NeurosurgicalHospital, Tiantan Nanli, Beijing 100050, International Department, Tel:+86-156-0103-0031, Email: or

Web site:

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Posted: January 2008