Child's Leukemia Cured By Re-Engineered Immune Cells

An experimental new therapy that uses a custom-built version of an individual’s own specialist immune cells has been used to successfully treat a seven-year-old girl suffering from an aggressive form of childhood leukemia. After the treatment with her own re-engineered immune cells her doctors could find no evidence of cancer.

The treatment was carried out at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) by a team of doctors headed by Pediatric Oncologist Stephan A. Grupp. They chose Emily Whiteheadas the first child patient on a clinical trial called CTL019, which is testing T cell therapy to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. Emily had previously received standard chemotherapy but had relapsed twice. As part of the new therapy she received a specially engineered version of her own T cells, which multiplied rapidly and destroyed the leukemia cells.

This treatment had not been tested previously in children or for this type of leukemia. Although only 12 patients have been treated to date the initial results are considered to be extremely promising.
The updated trial results were presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), which took place in Atlanta from 8 to 11 December.

Has a sudden onset. Full medical glossary
A fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. Full medical glossary
Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of all living organisms. Full medical glossary
The use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer. Full medical glossary
The abbreviation for computed tomography, a scan that generates a series of cross-sectional x-ray images Full medical glossary
A watery or milky bodily fluid containing lymphocytes, proteins and fats. Lymph accumulates outside the blood vessels in the intercellular spaces of the body tiisues and is collected by the vessels of the lymphatic system. Full medical glossary
A return or worsening of the symptoms of a disease after a period of remission. Full medical glossary
A type of lymphocyte, a white blood cell that fights infection. Full medical glossary