Leukaemia: a new hopeful treatment

Leukaemia: a new hopeful treatment

In the UK, a one-year-old baby with leukemia is on the road to recovery. He received genetic treatment, a world first. Even his doctors speak of miracles. France 2 takes stock.

The little English Layla Richards, barely one year old, is a miracle. At the age of three months, he was diagnosed with very aggressive leukemia. Chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant are a failure. “The doctors told us that there was nothing more to do. They were going to send us home with palliative care and lo and behold, Layla shouldn’t have been with us today”explains Lisa, mother of the little girl.

The medical team finally proposes an experimental treatment. Defense cells are taken from a donor and then genetically modified by a French laboratory so that they destroy diseased cells. They are then reinjected into Layla. A world first on a child who changed the course of the disease and gave hope to the family. “It’s like a dream, it’s a beautiful dream, you pinch yourself to believe it. We wake up and there she is. It’s awesome”explains Ashleigh Richards, father of Layla. If the doctors recognize encouraging results in the fight against leukemia, they prefer to remain cautious. “These cells reacted remarkably with his organism, but that does not mean that it will be the same for the other children we follow. For each one, it will be necessary to redo the tests to see if it is suitable”, explains Professor Paul Veys, director of a transplant unit in London. For little Layla, it will take at least a year to see if the treatment has worked well.

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