Young Girl Beats Cancer With Aid of ‘Designer Cell’

Posted on December 8, 2015 by


Layla Richards, a one-year-old, has been undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia since she was just fourteen weeks old. She was flown all the way across the U.K. for experimental procedures, bone marrow transplants, countless blood tests, and yet cancer took over her body. The test that was suggested was never tested on anything larger than a lab mouse. Layla’s parents were losing hope and decided to try this new technique and became the first person in the world to be treated for the cancer using “designer cells.”

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia affects the lymphoid and grows very quickly. This disease accounts for more than five thousand new cases of leukemia each year. This disease has the most effect on young children and infants but have occurred, rarely, in adults.

“I’m sure that her parents were scared of what the outcome would be without this new technique. I probably would have done the same thing for my little girl if I had children,” senior Hannah Sell said.

This technique was tried on HIV patients before but never cancer. If Layla’s body remains cancer-free, like it has been for the past few months, then she will be the remarkable girl who was cured with the designer cell.

The medical team cautioned that the method they used will require more testing before they can start using it for the entire population. The technique requires tiny “scissors to fix her genes and make the immune cells able to destroy the cancer cells.”

The designer cells can be sent to other doctors to give to their patience who are suffering with certain severe cancers.

“That’s really neat that the doctors were able to come up with something like this to ship out and save lives in more hospitals than just their own,” junior Megan Majewski said

For two weeks, Layla was not affected by the treatment. Doctors contemplated sending the little girl home for her to spend her last few moments with her family in her own bed. Then it finally appeared. A simple rash appeared telling the doctors that her body recognized the new cells and was responding to the infusion.

Just a few weeks later, the cancer was gone. Layla went into surgeries to fix bone marrow from all the suffering her body had been through and was able to go home. There will be a possibility of the cancer coming back within months, or possibly years, but for now this is a step in the right direction. Layla is strong and healthy enough to be back home and have more time with her loving family and friends.

“This makes me so happy to hear how they saved the little girl. If this method works, she will be able to have a healthy, happy life with her family,” Majewski said,

The therapy used to treat Layla was developed by the doctors and researchers at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and the University College London’s (UCL) Institute of Children’s Health along with the biotech company Cellectics. A consultant immunologist at GOSH had been working on therapy and suggested the idea that was approved by an ethics panel. Shortly after that, Layla was injected with the designer cells.
At first, Layla’s parents questioned how only one milliliter vial could save their daughter when bags upon bags of chemotherapy had not worked for her. The nurse reassured them that the treatment was about quality and not quantity. She was correct.

“I’d be scared for my kid if something this horrible happened to them. I think they made the right choice by trusting their doctors and having faith in their hospital. I would be scared as well,” junior Pierre Richard said.

Although the countless surgeries before the designer cell was not a success, Layla has made a magnificent recovery from the acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Posted in: Uncategorized