Nora Situm, the 5-year-old Croatian child seeking experimental leukemia therapy at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, has overcome the first obstacle to qualify for the treatment.
Doctors have collected a big-enough supply of her T cells, the immune cells that form the basis of the therapy, said Richard Aplenc, Nora's oncologist.
The update came in a video statement released Friday by the hospital and Nora's mother, Giana Atanasovska, and father, Ivica Situm.
Nora's arrival at Children's on Feb. 7 was the subject of controversy here and in Croatia because of a misunderstanding over the cost of the treatment.
Croatians had raised more than $600,000 to cover those costs - a huge sum for a small country with a limping economy - then blasted the hospital on Facebook, mistakenly accusing it of jacking up the price to more than $800,000. Atanasovska later posted an apology, saying she had been confused by information from the hospital.