Sophie-EdwardEight year old girl Sophie Edward who was suffering from leukaemia and underwent stem cell treatment three months ago is progressing positively.

Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood and is the most common cancer in children, accounting for one third of cases.

In leukaemia, normal control mechanisms in the blood break down and the bone marrow starts to produce large numbers of abnormal white blood cells, disrupting production of normal blood cells and affecting the vital functions that these blood cells carry out.

Leukaemia can be classified as either lymphoid or myeloid, denoting the type of white blood cell affected. It is also categorised as either acute or chronic, reflecting the speed of progression.

Sophie was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in February last year and tried bone marrow transplant earlier, but eventually her bone marrow transplant failed and she and her family had no other way left but to relay on stem cell transplant.

The original transplant that eventually failed, took place at St James’s Hospital, in Leeds, in October.

Three months ago Sophie underwent a special type of stem cell treatment that was the first of its kind in Leeds.

Doctors used part of the original bone marrow left over from the previous transplant, but as Sophie was too ill there wasn’t time for it to be treated, so instead it was transplanted unprepared and chemotherapy used to get rid of the cells she didn’t need.

According to Sophie’s mother Emma Edwards, of Newsome, Huddersfield, they practically evaluated each day after the eight-year-old underwent the stem cell treatment three months ago, certainly they were very much worried as the previous bone marrow transplant failed. But after three months they are now much relieved as so far all the signs are good and she is much better.

Almost all childhood leukaemias are of the acute form, meaning that they progress rapidly.

Acute lymphoblastic (lymphoid) leukaemia (ALL) accounts for more than 80% of cases of childhood leukaemia. It is the only form of leukaemia – and one of the few forms of cancer – that is more common in children than in adults.

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) accounts for most of the remaining cases.

Chronic leukaemias, which progress slowly, are very rare in childhood.

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) accounts for less than 3% of childhood leukaemias (less than 15 children per year in the UK).

Chronic lymphoblastic leukaemia is unheard of in children.

Source: Yorkshire Post