American doctor agrees to travel to the United Kingdom to examine Charlie Gard

The 11-month-old suffers from a rare genetic condition but his parents say claims by his doctors that he is irreparably brain damaged are false

The 11-month-old suffers from a rare genetic condition but his parents say claims by his doctors that he is irreparably brain damaged are false

The American doctor flying to the United Kingdom tomorrow to examine the terminally ill baby Charlie Gard has been working closely with the British medical establishment for more than 14 years.

But Dr Hirano, 55, believes his experimental theory could give Charlie "11% to 56% chance of clinically meaningful improvement".

A week ago a British judge set fresh hearings on experimental treatment for Charlie.

Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at the Columbia University Medical Centre in NY, is scheduled to examine Charlie for the first time before discussing his condition with Great Ormond Street doctors and other medical experts.

But Britain's courts have refused permission on the grounds it would prolong his suffering without a realistic prospect of it helping the 11-month-old child. Charlie will die from his illness, his doctors have said.

Hirano, who has been providing evidence to the High Court via video link, suggested that now, there is clinical data that were not available in April, and he thought the therapy was "worth trying".

"We are convinced together with Charlie's parents", it said in a statement.

They say life support treatment should stop.

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Tragic Charlie was born with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a rare and debilitating genetic condition that leaves sufferers severe mental and physical.

An American neurosurgeon who offered to treat Charlie is due to be among specialists gathering at the hospital.

The hospital was scheduled to take the child off of life support last month after his parents lost an appeal to take him to the USA for experimental treatment.

He will meet with doctors and medical experts at the hospital to discuss his treatment.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street argue life support should be withdrawn, saying that Charlie's condition - a form of mitochondrial disease which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage - would affect his quality of life.

The Great Ormond Street Hospital told the court their position remains unchanged, that every medical treatment option had already been explored, and that any experimental treatment would be unjustified.

British tabloid The Sun has reported that Pope Francis wants to give Charlie a Vatican passport so the court ruling can be overcome.

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