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Alberta baby ‘Mighty Hudson’ home after gene therapy: ‘he’s cured’

The first six months of his young life have been a roller-coaster but “Mighty Hudson” Cowie is back home in Alberta after an experimental gene therapy procedure in Tennessee was successful.

“It’s been so long since we’ve got to see our family, our friends,” Hudson’s dad Ian said. “Even just to be able to show him off to everybody. We’ve spent the last six months seeing how amazing of a little guy he is.

Hudson was diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) within days of his birth on June 23. The condition, known to many as “Bubble Boy Disease,” prevents his body from fighting illnesses. Essentially, he didn’t have an immune system.

READ MORE: Hundreds attend donor drive for ‘Mighty Hudson,’ Alberta baby with rare immune disease

In August, Hudson was accepted into a gene therapy program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. A medical team removed some of his bone marrow cells and replaced the faulty gene with a corrected one. The cells were placed back into his body through an IV.

“They took his own bone marrow out — in his bone marrow, he’s got hematopoietic stem cells. They were able to take those cells and modify them to create a product, a repaired version of those cells, and then give them back to him,” Ian told Global News on Monday.

Ian and his wife Hayley were weighing two options for their little boy: using donor cells or a revamped version of Hudson’s own cells. They decided on the second, which meant a trial at St. Jude’s.

“It didn’t rely on a donor, it was the new up-and-coming medicine, the existing results for gene therapy were already incredibly promising and then, as an added bonus, it had substantially less chemotherapy requirements.”

WATCH: (Sept. 9, 2019) A Morinville baby with a rare disorder received a life-changing procedure in the U.S. Hudson Cowie’s parents give Su-Ling Goh an update on therapy for his immune system.

“It honestly sounded too good to be true,” Hayley added.

“With bone marrow transplant, we heard of graft versus host disease, where it’s somebody else’s cells and they can reject them. With gene therapy, having his own cells, he wasn’t going to reject them because his body already knows them.”

A few months after the transplant, they started to see results: Hudson’s first T-cells, a type of white blood cell that’s a key component of the immune system.

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