A little girl aged one and a half, Layla Richards, has been given genetically modified immune cells in an attempt to treat her leukaemia. These cells are white cells taken from a donor. They were genetically modified in advance to target the leukaemia and to prevent an immune reaction in the recipient.
All of the treatments administered in an attempt to cure the child who has been suffering from the most severe form of leukaemia, namely acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, from fourteen weeks old, have failed. Her parents have begged the medical team to try every option.
Last May, the hospital in conjunction with University College London successfully attempted potential treatment based on genetically modified cells to treat mice with leukaemia. This test appears to be the final treatment option to save Layla. A few weeks after the injection, doctors noted that the baby’s body had responded and overcome leukaemia.
Professor Paul Veys, Transplantation Director at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital where Layla was treated commented on the test as follows, “As this was the first time for this treatment to be used, we did not know whether it would work. We were therefore over the moon when it did. Layla’s leukaemia was so aggressive that this type of response is virtually a miracle”. “The treatment looks promising so far,” added Doctor Sujith Samara sing he in the hospital’s Haematology and Oncology Department.
Nevertheless, the medical team have to wait a year before announcing whether or not the treatment has been successful.
The Guardian (05/11/2015) – The Telegraph (05/11/2015)