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Incredible! Cure found for young girl's 'incurable' cancer

Words by Abi Scaife

A teenage girl’s incurable cancer has been cured, thanks to a revolutionary new treatment.


Alyssa, who is 13 and from Leicester, was diagnosed with an ‘incurable’ cancer in May last year (2021) - ​​T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Today, she is just excited to be getting back to ‘just doing normal people stuff’ like being a bridesmaid, riding her bike, and going back to school.

What changed?

A revolutionary therapy that was invented only six years ago was used by the team at Great Ormond Street Hospital (known as GOSH). The treatment is called base editing and involves altering the molecular structure of one ‘base’ in our genetic code.

The team at GOSH took a group of healthy T-cells from a donor, modified them, and used them to locate and destroy the cancerous T-cells. While it’s obviously a little more convoluted than that, that is the long and short of it - and the best news, it worked!

What does this mean for other people?

Alyssa was the first person to be treated with base editing, so there’s a long way to go before this is common practice. It was a long process that left Alyssa’s immune system weakened, and she had to spend many months in the hospital unable to see her brother in case he brought germs in.

Despite that, Alyssa’s recovery is an incredible win; not just for her, but for the scientific community. With this, we can hope that one-day base editing will be commonplace, able to help many more families.

If you’re interested in giving back to GOSH, please consider donating to their charity this Christmas. 

This article aligns with the UN SDGs Good Health and Wellbeing and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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