New promising treatment for childhood leukemia
Dr. Richard Firshein explains
- Duration 5:07
- Date Dec 11, 2012
Dr. Richard Firshein explains
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A new potentially life saving treatment for leukemia and one of the most positive outcomes yet if this little girl her name is -- Whitehead.
She's just seven years old she has been in remission for seven months now -- Gallagher has her story from Los Angeles Trace.
It's amazing -- whatever loose -- -- mom was bathing your -- that -- had bruises all over her body and she was later diagnosed with leukemia now the good news for Emily was at the time it was -- most common form of childhood leukemia.
But the bad news and -- cure rate was 85% the bad news was she was among the 15%.
Who were resistant to chemotherapy.
And -- out some other treatment.
And the -- would surely die listen.
Hadn't come with a team of doctors in the pick you every morning and -- rounds with us.
And we were always first and they would come to wasn't trying to show us a lot on the floor and save us a lot of survival Emily is almost -- past that.
So when she got to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia the cutting edge treatment was to take family's blood.
Extracted T cells then re engineered them put them back into -- body in essence the re engineering was the key because they actually were using a deadly disease.
To fight a deadly disease -- What my colleagues have actually done.
Is to take the parts of the HIV virus that are good at it getting into cells get rid of the parts that make the cell sicken or kill the cells.
And replace that with molecules that can that can then target the cells to fight leukemia.
Yeah but the cells overreacted and -- body and she was critically ill her parents were told to prepare for the worst.
But then using some anti arthritis medication doctors were able to stabilize her.
And now you look -- seven months later she has zero I mean zero signs of leukemia.
She still needs to go through two years before they will say that she is cured but what an amazing story.
Of recovery -- the parents told us look.
They were really being told the night that she was so sick.
You have very little time get the family in here.
Now look at how beautiful she looks -- thanks straw that background check so for more on this potentially life saving cancer treatment let's bring in doctor Richard for shine.
He's the author and director of the first -- center for comprehensive medicine doctor for -- great to have you here.
Explain to us why this could be such a game changer.
Well right now for leukemia alone acute cases 6000 children are diagnosed.
Every year 44000.
Diagnosed with leukemia.
What these doctors have been able to do.
Is to actually insert a specific gene.
Which will allow the body to target in T cells allow the body to target -- cells which actually are the dysfunctional cells in a low key -- body.
Actually allow -- the body to intercept those cells and destroy them so this has huge implications.
Not just for leukemia.
But for cancer treatments as we know it.
And we just saw the story obviously it gently Whitehead there -- seeing I believe her on the other side of the screen at that the worst.
And of course if she.
Almost killed her leukemia almost killed her and then the treatment can be so severe doctors refer to it as.
Shake and bake the reaction because it cause it can cause tremors.
And such high fever was.
But she survived it.
But for some people they're not that lucky well they.
In this case what happened -- was part of the treatment by inserting T cells that stimulates the immune system and it produces a lot of flu like symptoms.
What doctors did know at the time was that it was going to be this dramatic what they did stray out of -- episode of house.
You know that night they figured out that there was a specific drug.
Which targets a specific.
Compound a site a kind.
Which is released the causes these flu like symptoms they were able to give her this drug and they were able to alleviate the symptoms.
So we have not only -- treatment -- -- a side effect of doctors -- figure out how to deal with that.
And they're also ten other patients who have been in this study so far.
Basically four in complete remission to to neutral children are doing very well well and there's you know obviously the others who are in partial remission so that's exciting.
But obviously ten people is not a big study -- and could this have.
More widespread usage.
We'll doctors are gonna start the studies -- -- amplify this through a number of the different researchers are different hospitals that are using -- gene splicing techniques which are really again another.
You know he do you -- as -- a star Star Wars you know they're going in there and inserting these.
These genes which and actually target specifically target cells.
So why people are so excited even though this is a limited number of cases.
Is this is really the first time we're seeing these treatments work.
In patients that would have died otherwise she had no other treatment options chemotherapy wasn't working there was nothing else it can be done.
And the doctors gave this treatment and she's doing fine.
Modern medical science incredible doctor Richard freshman thanks much for -- thank you tired of.