Experimental treatment helps Philipsburg girl battle back against cancer

Video posted December 12, 2012 in News, Best of CommMedia by Savannah Smith


Normally there's a grim outcome when the words cancer and HIV both appear in someone's medical history. That's definitely not the case for Emily Whitehead, an 8-year-old from Philipsburg, whose life was saved by an experimental treatment that used a genetically engineered form of HIV to transport life-saving treatment throughout her body.

Emily was the first child in the world to receive the Cart-19 T-Cell treatment. Her parents, Tom and Kari Whitehead, say their daughter is getting “back to normal” as she recovers from treatment for pre-b acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At one point she was gravely ill for days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, suffering from lung and kidney failure. Today she is back to being able to play outdoors and enjoy bedtime stories.