Designer Immune Cells Successfully Beat Leukaemia

By Gary Cutlack on at

A particularly grim case of childhood leukaemia that was devastating the life of one-year-old baby Layla has been arrested and beaten by a new therapy, with doctors giving her a gene-edited cell treatment built specifically to match her profile.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London used the concept of adding new genes to donated T-cells from an unrelated healthy person, creating custom T-cells invisible to some drugs and programmed to target and battle only the rogue leukaemia cells in the patient's body.

Given that Ayla was at the end of a long line of unsuccessful traditional treatments, the result of this method -- which sees her completely free of leukaemia -- is being described by doctors as a miracle.

Ormond Street team leader professor Paul Veys said: "Her leukaemia was so aggressive that such a response is almost a miracle. As this was the first time that the treatment had been used, we didn't know if or when it would work, so we were over the moon when it did." [Reuters]

Image credit: Doctors from Shutterstock