For the first time ever, a person’s life has been saved by gene editing.
One-year-old Layla was dying from leukaemia after all conventional treatments failed. “We didn’t want to give up on our daughter, though, so we asked the doctors to try anything,” her mother Lisa said in a statement released by Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Layla (pictured above) was treated.
And they did. Layla’s doctors got permission to use an experimental form of gene therapy using genetically engineered immune cells from a donor. Within a month these cells had killed off all the cancerous cells in her bone marrow.
It is too soon to say she is cured, the team stressed at a press conference in London on 5 November. That will only become clear after a year or two. So far, though, she is doing well and there is no sign of the cancer returning. Other patients are already receiving the same treatment.