A one-year-old girl in Britain has become the first in the world to be treated with “designer” immune cells genetically engineered to reverse her cancer, doctors said on Thursday.
Layla Richards was suffering from leukemia, but was cured after scientists used a new gene-editing technique to manipulate cells to fight the disease at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in central London.
“As this was the first time that the treatment had been used, we didn’t know if or when it would work and so we were over the moon when it did,” said Paul Veys, director of bone marrow transplant at GOSH and Layla’s head doctor.
“Her leukemia was so aggressive that such a response is almost a miracle,” he said.
The baby was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, the most common form of childhood leukemia, when she was just 14 weeks old. She was treated with chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, but the cancer returned and doctors told her parents to consider palliative end-of-life care.
The family was then offered an experimental treatment under development at the hospital, in which doctors modified white blood cells, T cells, from a healthy donor so that they seek out and kill drug-resistant leukemia.
“She was sick and in lots of pain so we had to do something,” said Ashleigh Richards, her 30-year-old father. “Doctors explained that even if we could try the treatment, there was no guarantee that it would work, but we prayed it would.”
Layla was given a small infusion of the genetically engineered cells known as UCART19 cells. A few weeks later, doctors said that the treatment had worked.
Doctors said that the experimental technique had just been used once and that the results need to be replicated, but said it was potentially very promising.
“We have only used this treatment on one very strong little girl, and we have to be cautious about claiming that this will be a suitable treatment option for all children,” said Waseem Qasim, professor of cell and gene therapy at the Institute of Child Health.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete