W MI baby getting experimental drug for rare disorder

Russell Cruzan III
An undated photo of Russell Cruzan III courtesy his family.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A baby from the Kalamazoo area has been accepted into a program in Boston to fight a rare condition.

Russell Cruzan III, who is about five months old, has mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome 13, which can cause a loss of muscle mobility and strength, decreased kidney function and an inability to swallow. Doctors say the odds of survival are against Russell.

Russell Cruzan III
An undated photo of Russell Cruzan III courtesy his family.

But his parents are fighting. They worked to get him to Boston Children’s Hospital, where there’s a top mitochondrial specialist. Russell’s mother posted on Facebook Thursday that he had been accepted into a treatment program there. Russell will start taking a drug that is aimed at helping his healthy mitochondria replicate.

“This drug is experimental …. It may stabilize the progression of his disease and offers increased mental clarity and improved strength,” his mother, Michelle Budnik-Knap wrote.

She thanked everyone who has offered her family support.

Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome is the same condition that Charlie Gard, a British baby at the center of a legal battle, had. In Charlie’s case, it proved fatal.