*Warning: contains spoilers for Years and Years episode two*
In episode two, Rosie (Ruth Madeley), one of the four Lyons siblings, is hosting her sister Edith (Jessica Hynes) when her neighbour drops by, accompanied by their baby Poppy.
After the neighbour leaves, Rosie tells Edith that Poppy had spina bifida, a condition that occurs when a baby’s spine and spinal cord don’t develop properly while in the womb — a condition that Rosie was also born with.
However, doctors were able to repair the gap in Poppy’s spine using cultivated nerve tissue.
“They did a scan and Poppy had a gap in her spine. Just like me. So they went in, and fixed it [in the womb],” Rosie explains. “Now they can grow the nerve tissue, they can cultivate it inside and fix it completely. I mean she’s only six months so we’ll see how it goes but really, that’s it. Spina bifida, cured. Almost.”
While the pioneering procedure may seems years away, it turns out that Davies’ prediction for 2025 is much closer to present-day reality than you’d expect.
The BBC recently reported that surgeons King’s College Hospital had successfully performed keyhole surgery to repair the spine of a baby with spina bifida while still inside the womb. Consultant neurosurgeon Mr Bassel Zebian said the procedure was “not a cure” but could prove the difference between a child walking or not walking later in life.
“Spina bifida has always been part of my life and something that I have accepted – but it has never been something that I have fully understood,” Madeley told the BBC.
“This surgery is not about eliminating spina bifida or saying it should not exist – it is about giving more unborn babies who are diagnosed with spina bifida the chance to reduce the other symptoms that come with this disability, while still being able to grow in the womb.”