For the first time in history, two babies with leukemia were treated with genetically engineered cells. These experiments, conducted at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, allow off the shelf cellular therapy using cells that can be infused into patients at any time. This is done by engineering T cells that hunt down leukemia cells. Layla, a one year old, was diagnosed with incurable leukemia. Chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant failed, which is usual with babies that age. Her parents were desperate, and allowed for the use of this experimental therapy. What happened next can be described as almost a miracle: Layla is now not only alive, but has no trace of leukemia in her body.
Obviously, this is great news. However, although it seems to have worked, it does not mean it can be considered a cure just yet. This kind of technology has enormous potential to correct other conditions where cells are engineered and given back to the patients with near mystical healing properties. Scientists will continue to work off of these findings but it does represent a major step forward in curing cancer. Time will tell what this kind of technology will bring next.