Nora Situm, the 5-year-old Croatian girl whose homeland raised money for her to seek experimental leukemia therapy at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, died early Wednesday while the tailor-made treatment was still being produced.
"We are very sorry for the loss of Nora Situm, and express our deepest sympathies to her parents, family, and many friends and supporters in Croatia," the hospital said in a statement. "During the time Nora was in our care, we were in awe of the tremendous courage and spirit displayed by her and her parents."
Early this month, doctors announced that they had collected Nora's T cells, the immune cells that form the basis of the gene therapy. However, the process of multiplying the cells and genetically modifying them in the lab takes more than a month.