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'Miracle Baby' beats aggressive leukemia after immunotherapy

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Posted at 5:03 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 18:31:30-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Little Chastity of Niagara Falls was 5 weeks old when doctors diagnosed her with aggressive infantile leukemia.

But the little girl was not alone. Her parents, family and a team of experts at Roswell Park Oishei Children's hospital had her back.

She went through several immunotherapies at the Roswell Park Oishei Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Program last year.

Now, close to celebrating her second birthday, there is no evidence of cancer in the healthy toddler.

"She's doing great. She's getting big she's very active, very smart, very bright," said Cariorl Mayfield, her father.

"I was happy, overjoyed, jumping with joy, just overall thankful. Thankful," said Shawanda Prather.

Chastity had the FDA approved CAR T therapy — and is one of the youngest patients to receive the advanced cancer treatment.

CAR T is short for chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, which involves removing a patient's own immune cells, genetically engineering them to make them more effective at recognizing and killing cancer cells, and infusing them back into the patient with the goal of providing long-term protection against cancer.

"For high risk leukemia, she was in the highest of highest risk groups. She was so young, and had such a high white [blood cell] count, and she had genetic features that just put her at unfortunately such a high of being resistant to our therapies," said Dr. Kara Kelly, Chair of Pediatric Oncology at Roswell Park Oishei Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Program.

The family endured several stressful months after they learned that Chasity had an especially aggressive form of acute lymphocytic leukemia.

They were in the hospital from when she was five weeks until eleven months.

"Through it all she stayed with a smile on her face," said Prather.

After going through several other therapies in 2019 to make sure the leukemia does not return, Chastity is now a happy, healthy miracle baby.

She turns 2 this Sunday.