After receiving an experimental drug, a terminally ill woman with only two months left to live has been declared free of cancer.

Eliana Keeling, 65, from Chorlton, Greater Manchester, was shocked when a routine blood test revealed she had a rare type of leukaemia in the run-up to Christmas in 2020.

Although the retired teacher had started chemotherapy immediately on Christmas Day, she received devastating news that her cancer was incurable in May 2021.

The Christie cancer centre offered Mrs Keeling the chance to be a part of a drug test.

A groundbreaking, new treatment for cancer was provided to her. The name of the drug is still unknown. This treatment was created to attack a chemical vulnerability deep in leukaemia cells.

The tablet is thought to give azacytidine — an injection already given to leukaemia patients — an extra boost, so is taken alongside it.

Last December, Mrs Keeling had been declared cancer-free. She was able to receive a bone marrow donation. Since then, she has been in complete remission.

Eliana Keeling, 65, from Manchester, who was given just two months to live is now free of cancer after receiving an experimental drug on a clinical trial

Eliana Keeling from Manchester (65 year old) was only given two months left to live. After receiving an experimental medication in a clinical study, she is free of any cancer.

The retired teacher started chemotherapy at Manchester Royal Infirmary on Christmas Day but was given the devastating news her illness was terminal in May 2021, despite two intensive rounds

After starting chemotherapy at Manchester Royal Infirmary Christmas Day, the retired teacher was told that she had a terminal diagnosis in May 2021. She received two rounds of intensive treatment.

Mrs Keeling, regular gym-goer who enjoyed active holidays before her diagnosis, celebrated her 31st wedding anniversary with husband John (pictured together) last month

Mrs Keeling was a regular gym-goer and enjoyed active holidays prior to her diagnosis. She celebrated her 31st Wedding Anniversary with John last month (pictured together).


Acute myeloid Leukaemia (AML), a form of blood cancer, is caused by the growth of young bone marrow white blood cells.

AML can affect around 1 in 200 men in the UK and 1 in 255 women.

In the United States, there are approximately 19500 new cases each year. 

Most often, it is diagnosed in the elderly.

Some symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Frequent Infections
  • Brising and bleeding quickly, such as nosebleeds or prolonged periods.
  • Weight loss
  • Joint and bone pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Pale skin

Although the exact reason for AML is not known, there are some risks: 

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Radiation exposure
  • Previous chemotherapy
  • Certain blood disorders, such as myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Some immune conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis

AML is most commonly treated by chemotherapy. It may also be necessary to undergo a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

Source: Cancer Research UK 

Mrs Keeling explained that when she told her the chemotherapy hadn’t worked, and that there were only a few months to go before I died, it was clear to me that this was unacceptable.

“It was almost as if there had been a massive hole in my world, and everything I planned vanished instantly.”

After experiencing some swelling, Mrs Keeling was referred to a blood test. She did not have any other symptoms and didn’t feel ill.

The results showed she had acute myeloid leukemia, a rare form of leukemia that starts in white blood cells in the bone marrow. 

Around one in 200 and one in 250 men in the UK are affected by it at one time or another. Some Every year, there are 19500 new cases in the US. 

She started chemotherapy at Manchester Royal Infirmary on December 25 and underwent two rounds of treatment before doctors told her there was nothing more they could do for her.

Mrs Keeling refused it to be the end, and requested to be referred back to The Christie where she would have the opportunity to participate in the trial.

The drug — which is used specifically for leukemia — has not yet been given a medical name.

The traditional treatment of acute myeloid severe leukemia, Azacytidine was also administered.

The treatment did not cause any side effects and she declared that she had no cancer before Christmas. 

Mrs Keeling is a frequent gym-goer, who was active before being diagnosed. Last month, she celebrated her 31st marriage anniversary with John.

And she said the trial at the hospital — which she described as best thing that ever happened to her — has given her a new lease of life.

“The Christie was the best thing to happen to me,” she said. It is amazing how much I like going there.

“I am always understood and treated as an individual and not like a number. Each member of staff has a remarkable talent.

“I now feel like The Christie has done a miracle.

Consultant haematologist Dr Emma Searle at The Christie stated that Eliana was a victim of a bad prognosis. Her only hope for survival was the clinical trial, bone marrow transplant, and a long-term medical plan.

“We are really happy Eliana received such positive feedback and she is now free of leukemia.

“Given her very short life expectancy after the treatment failed, this is an outstanding result.”

“We are thankful to all patients and relatives that feel able to help us here at The Christie with our research.

“Trials are crucial to help make the best progress with cancer treatment.”

Acute myeloidleukemia, a blood cancer caused by abnormally growing blood cells in rapid succession and interfering with normal blood cells, is one type.

This is the most prevalent type of adult leukemia, although it’s still relatively rare, with only 1% of all cancers.

This is usually a condition that strikes older individuals and occurs rarely before 45. AML patients are typically around 68 years old when diagnosed.