Baby beats leukemia with 'miracle' gene editing treatment

KTRK logo
Monday, November 9, 2015
EMBED <>More Videos

A baby girl is alive tonight, thanks to parents who never gave up, and doctors who tried something totally new and different.

LONDON -- A baby diagnosed with leukemia now appears to be cancer free after a treatment in London her doctors are calling nothing short of miraculous.

Layla Richards is only a year old, but has spent most of her short life battling cancer.

When Layla's parents were told her traditional treatments for leukemia were not working and that she would very likely die, her doctors in London decided to try gene editing, ABC News reports.

The experimental treatment had doctors injecting Layla with a donor's immune cells genetically engineered to attack her cancer. Two months later, the leukemia appears to have disappeared.

Researchers are cautiously optimistic this could lead to new advances in the fight against cancer, but admit it is too soon to say whether Layla responded to the treatment. The doctors also say they are unsure if her remission will last.

The doctors are expected to report on the treatment at a meeting of the American Society of Hematology next month.

"The treatment was highly experimental and we had to get special permissions, but she appeared ideally suited for this type of approach," said Waseem Qasim, a researcher who led the experiment at Great Ormond Street Hospital.