World-first research participant celebrates 4th birthday

Happy birthday to Oscar who was the first baby in the world to take part in a cannabis-based medicine trial after his birth four years ago.

Oscar was delivered by emergency caesarean section on 11 March 2020 and was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to be treated for Neonatal Hypoxic-ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).

He was given cooling therapy for 72 hours and within hours of his birth he was enrolled in a research study to receive a cannabis-derived medicine. The drug is delivered intravenously and aims to prevent seizures of babies with HIE.

Two babies at NNUH took part in the randomised study four years ago, which was funded and sponsored by GW Pharmaceuticals and supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

His mum Chelsea Parodi, of Watton, Norfolk, said: “Oscar is doing absolutely amazing! He’s full of energy, he’s into hot wheels cars and he’s doing well at nursery school.”

“We often talk to him about how special he is and we have a photo book from when he was a baby, which he likes to look through. He was in hospital for eight or nine days and he was being monitored 24/7. He is doing really well and we are really grateful to the whole NICU team for their support during those difficult first days.”

The research that Oscar took part in when he was born was the first step that could one day lead to a cannabis-derived medicine being used routinely in neonatal care to help babies at risk of seizures and brain injury.

Professor Paul Clarke, Consultant Neonatologist at NNUH, said: “We are proud to have recruited the very first babies into this study and it is hoped this cannabis-derived medicine will be good for preventing seizures and protecting the brains of new-born babies with HIE.”

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