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Health Highlights: Dec. 10, 2012

Health Highlights: Dec. 10, 2012

12/10/12

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Dying Girl Saved by Experimental Cancer Treatment

A 6-year-old girl dying of leukemia was saved by an experimental treatment in which disabled HIV was used to reprogram her immune system genetically to kill cancer cells. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

The procedure on Emma Whitehead was conducted at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in April. She had relapsed twice after chemotherapy and doctors could offer no more treatment options for her acute lymphoblastic leukemia, The New York Timesreported.

However, Emma's parents sought the experimental treatment, which had never before been tried in a child or in anyone with Emma's type of leukemia. She was cancer-free after the treatment and seven months later is still in remission.

Emma is the first child and one of the first people in which their immune system has been given the lasting ability to fight cancer, The Timesreported.

The doctors who treated Emma presented their results in Atlanta Sunday and Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

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South Africa's Nelson Mandela Hospitalized

Nelson Mandela, the first black president of once white-ruled South Africa, was admitted to a military hospital Saturday for medical tests. But the nation's president said there was "no cause for alarm" over the 94-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner's health, the Associated Pressreported.

A statement issued on behalf of President Jacob Zuma said that Mandela was doing well and was receiving medical care "consistent for his age." The statement provided no other details, the APsaid.

Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for fighting the racist white rule system known as apartheid, became South Africa's first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term. He later retired from public life, and last made a public appearance in 2010 when South Africa hosted the World Cup soccer tournament, the news service reported.

Mandela was hospitalized for a night in February for minor diagnostic surgery for an abdominal complaint. In January 2011, he was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for a respiratory infection. He was released several days later, the APreported.

During his years of imprisonment he contracted tuberculosis.

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Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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