“HT was born with a form of severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID, which meant he had virtually no immune defenses. About 70 children are born with SCID each year in the United States and Canada, though only two or three will have the same type as HT. Without treatment, children with SCID typically die in the first two years of life.

On the sixth day of HT’s life, he and his family returned to the hospital where he’d been born in Tuba City, Ariz., a community on the Navajo Nation about 50 miles east of the Grand Canyon. A pediatrician told them HT would need to be isolated and airlifted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Joy turned to shock. His paternal grandmother, Laverna Shorty, recalls scrubbing her arms down before she could enter the room in Phoenix, which was filled with the sound of HT’s coarse cough.

Two and a half months later, at the University of California at San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital, HT became the first person in the world to receive an experimental gene therapy designed to rebuild his immune system, cell by cell.”

From The Washington Post.