August 9, 2012 | In July 2010, 5-year-old Nic Volker underwent a cord blood transplant, a risky treatment that had its roots in a moment of medical history: one of the first-ever uses of DNA sequencing to diagnose a patient. Although Nic's doctors at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin could not be certain that the transplant would resolve the child's mysterious gut disease, it would address another extremely rare illness threatening his life, and they hoped the treatment might just take care of both.
Two years later, Nic has yet to experience another one of the painful intestinal holes that characterized his disease. The boy who once could not tolerate real food now has a new favorite food, guacamole, or as the 7-year-old calls it, "the green stuff that goes with the chips." JS Online