A little girl named Layla Richards has broken records as the first person in the world to receive a cure for ‘incurable’ leukaemia using a ‘designer’ immune therapy.
1-year-old Baby Richards was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), at 14 weeks.
After fruitless extensive chemotherapy treatment, the cancer persisted which made thes doctors advise her parents to consider palliative care options.
She received the ground-breaking treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in central London, according to Metro UK.
This new treatment involves using ‘molecular scissors’ to edit genes and create designer immune cells programmed to hunt out and kill drug-resistant leukaemia.
Richards developed a rash, an immune reaction which the doctors expected to see within two weeks after she was given a small 1ml infusion of genetically-engineered cells, known as UCART19 cells.
Her 30-year-old father, Ashleigh Richards, a driver, said: “It was scary to think that the treatment had never been used in a human before but, even with the risks, there was no doubt that we wanted to try the treatment. She was sick and in lots of pain so we had to do something.
“Even though she is well at the moment, we still don’t know what the future holds.
“She will still have monthly bone marrow checks for now and might be on some medicines for the rest of her life.”
Professor Paul Veys, director of bone marrow transplant at GOSH and Layla’s head doctor, said: “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.
“Her leukaemia was so aggressive that such a response is almost a miracle.”
Doctors at GOSH who described Baby Richards as ‘one very strong little girl’ warned that while this is a great step forward, this may not be suitable treatment for all children.
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