Judge gives go ahead on experimental leukaemia therapy after parents disagree on daughters treatment

Specialists at the world’s most famous children’s hospital should try an experimental therapy on an 11-year-old girl suffering from leukaemia, a High Court judge has ruled.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London say the youngster will not live if “Car T-cell therapy” is not attempted.

The girl and her mother want specialists to try the therapy.

But the youngster’s father, who is separated from her mother, disagreed.

He said he had lost faith in conventional medicine, was worried about the side-effects of the treatment, and wanted to try homeopathic remedies.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot on Tuesday gave specialists the go-ahead to administer the treatment, after considering evidence at a private online hearing in the Family Division of the High Court.

The judge, who is based in London, was told that the therapy had side-effects and a 10-20% chance of success.

But she said it was the girl’s only chance.

“This an experimental process,” she said, in a ruling.

“But this is the only opportunity, the last opportunity, for this little girl to live and be cured.”

The girl’s father, who is separated from her mother, told the judge that he wanted doctors to “try something” that had “less side-effects”.

He said there were “definitely other avenues” and said conventional treatments had not worked.

A barrister representing bosses at the Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said the youngster had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when aged six.

Katie Gollop QC told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot that the illness had proved “stubbornly treatment resistant”.

Specialists hoped that the therapy would enable the youngster to have a bone marrow transplant, Ms Gollop told the judge.

They said there was no evidence that natural therapies suggested by the girl’s father would cure the leukaemia.

Earlier this year, another judge had concluded that the youngster should have antibody therapy.

Ms Gollop said that antibody therapy had not worked.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot said journalists could attend the hearing and report the case.

But she said the youngster could not be identified in media reports.

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