Genetically modified super immune cells – new treatment to fight cancer


genetic engineeringA new procedure called genome editing has been successfully carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital.The genome of a batch of donated T cells [immune cells] was altered so that T-cells were modified to seek out and destroy the abnormal leukaemia cells, while also becoming resistant to the chemotherapy drugs.

One-year-old Layla Richards, developed leukaemia when she was five months old. Leukaemia is the commonest cancer in children. Most respond to chemotherapy. If they fail to respond patients go on to have high dose chemotherapy which destroys most of their own blood cells followed by a rescue bone marrow transplant. Layla failed to respond to chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant so her parents opted to try the experimental technique, previously only used in mice, called genome editing. The DNA inside donated T cells were modified.The T-cells were modified to be accepted by Layla’s immune system and to seek out and destroy the…

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