Take a good, hard look at the beautiful little lady above – she may have just made history. One-year-old Layla Richards was suffering from incurable leukemia (a form of cancer). Her parents were told there were no options left to save their baby. Chemotherapy failed. So did bone-marrow transplants. Finally, doctors tried a new form of experimental therapy – they gave Layla “genetically-altered immune cells” that attack the leukemia cells while leaving all of Layla’s normal cells alone (doctors gave the treatment the unruly name “TALEN gene-edited allogeneic CAR-T therapy“). After two months, Layla was cancer free. She is now back at her home with her parents.
“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 leukemia was so aggressive that such a response is almost a miracle.”
Since this is the first time the treatment has been used, doctors are cautious about calling it a “cure”. If they can do it again with another patient, it could represent a huge step forward in treating leukemia and other cancers.