By Justin Udo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A five-year-old Croatian girl is undergoing experimental therapy for leukemia at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

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But her 4,000-mile trip from her home country was just the beginning of her journey.

Doctors at CHOP are in the second phase of this four-part experimental treatment.

(Dr. Richard Aplenc.  Photo provided)

(Dr. Richard Aplenc. Photo provided)

Dr. Richard Aplenc (right), an investigator on the trail of T-cell therapy for relapsed leukemia, is among those treating Nora Situm.

He says that in the first phase of the treatment they collected a large supply of the girl’s T-cells.

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That step, he says, was a success.

If the cells grow well enough,” he tells KYW Newsradio, “then the next step would be to genetically modify them.   And the step after that would be to give the cells to Nora.”

Nora’s mother, Giana, says the groundbreaking treatment her daughter is getting at CHOP is nothing less than stellar.

“We feel that Nora is in the best possible world, when she can get a second chance for her to live her life like a healthy little girl,” Giana Situm said.

The cost of this procedure is around $600,000, and the family received a majority of that money from the people of Croatia.

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