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In 2021, twelve-year-old Alyssa from Leicester in the UK was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma and all available treatments failed.
But the doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital tested, for the first time ever, genetically modifying healthy T cells so that they could kill the very cancer cells Alyssa had in her blood.
After only 28 days, the cancer had gone back, and today the now 13-year-old Alyssa is completely free of cancer. The doctors have good hopes that it will not return.
"This is a remarkable result, although it is still a preliminary result that needs to be checked and verified over the next few months," said Robert Chiesa, a doctor at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in a press release.
What the doctors did was they took healthy T cells from a donor. They then used genetic engineering to remove a marker so that these cells would not be attacked by Alyssa's immune system. Then they also removed a marker that made the cancer cells invisible to all cancer treatments. Finally, the researchers added a way for the modified T cells to recognize and kill the cancer cells in Alyssa's blood.
Image: Great Ormond Street Hospital