Cancer Free?

Alexis Dyamond

Layla's Story

Cancer and free are typically two words people never hear together in a sentence and for Layla Richard's parents, the thought was nearly impossible. Layla was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was 14 weeks old. She had chemo and a bone marrow stem cell transplant but the cancer cells were still there. Her parents became very desperate and let Waseem Qasim test his product on Layla right before she turned one. After two weeks, her body began to realize the new cells. She had a mild rash fromit. Over the next few weeks, fixed T cells showed up in the rash and in her bone marrow. After two months, they declared that Layla was cancer free. Layla began feeling better and got to go back home a month later. It has been five months and she is still free of leukemia.

The Genetics Behind it All

Gene editing is the reason Layla can say she is free of leukemia right now. Gene editing uses enzymes to switch DNA sequences. It replaces the gene at the location of the chromosome. Layla received T cells from a donor that where altered to attack the cancerous B cells. Chimeric antigen technology was used to accomplish this. TALEN enzymes took out the genes in the T cells that would have changed her immune system so they could clean up any other cancer cells. It only attacked the cancer cells which has never been done before!

Future Medicine Practices

Once genetic editing is used on more patients, it could become the new way to cure cancer. As of right now, they still need to wait a year or so to see if she is truly cancer free. If so, gene editing will save thousands of lives in the years to come.

Why Are These Findings Important to Nurses?

These findings are important to nurses. Nurses need to be able to understand how genetic editing can help their patients so they know how to respond to patient questions. With many people beginning to trust genetics to fix serious diseases, nurses are the top professionals needed to help consult their patients in these genetic decisions.


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"Will Layla Save Gene Editing? | DNA Science Blog." DNA Science Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.