5-year-old UK boy receives potentially life-saving cancer treatment in Singapore – The Independent

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Singapore A young boy from the United Kingdom received treatment for leukaemia in Singapore on Christmas Eve with a procedure that could possibly save his life.

Five-year-old Oscar Saxelby-Lee was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of the cancer called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia over the Christmas holidays last year.

He received chemotherapy and stem-cell treatment back home over the course of the year but the cancer returned in September.

In March, the boy had been featured both on the BBC and in The New York Times when thousands of people responded to a campaign launched by his primary school. They signed the stem cell register and donated bloodto see if a match could be found for him, as a stem cell transplant had been recommended but neither of his parents was a close enough match.

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Three matches were found by the end of March, and in May, the transplant was scheduled.

The boys health improved temporarily but by September his family announced that the cancer had recurred.

Oscars friends, family, community and even complete strangers rallied around him again, and raised 500,000 (approximately S$880,000) through crowdfunding to bring him to Singapore for the treatment, which is not available in the UKs National Health Service (NHS).

Ms Olivia Saxelby, the boys mother, told bbc.com that the treatment, called CAR-T therapy, which reprograms the cells in patients immune systems, is designed for individual patients. The reprogrammed cells then are used to target the cancer cells.

Within a week, Ms Saxelby said, doctors will determine whether the procedure was effective.

She called their journey since Oscar received treatment an emotional ride.

The Saxelby-Lee family has been in Singapore from the middle of last month and could stay for as long as half a year.

Another young boy from the UK, Zac Oliver, received the same treatment in the United States in March this year. He has been declared free from cancer.

Zac was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in May last year and was brought to the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia by November, after a similar crowdfunding effort also raised 500,000 for his treatment and travel.

The boys CAR T-cell therapy lasted 17 weeks and he was given a 60 to 80 per cent chance of survival. In March, however, he said in a video posted on Facebook: Guess what everyone, I have no cancer.

Zacs rare condition affects only one out of every 200 childhood leukaemia patients around the world. -/TISG

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5-year-old UK boy receives potentially life-saving cancer treatment in Singapore - The Independent

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