New Cancer Therapy Could Give Hope To ‘Incurable’ Patients

A new experimental treatment has achieved what chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants have failed to do: put chronic, relapsing blood cancers into remission.

What’s more, it uses the body’s own natural defense system to attack these cancerous growths.

The treatment involves T cells, a type of immune cell that works as your body’s own personal S.W.A.T. team to detect, surround, and destroy foreign invaders like bacteria or viruses. Historically, cancerous cells have grown too fast for T cells to mount an effective defense, and they can also trick T cells into thinking that they’re a healthy part of the body as opposed to a cancerous growth that needs to be stopped.

But in experimental treatments at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, initial evidence shows Dr. Stanley Riddell has successfully trained these T cells to better recognize and eliminate cancer cells in a short time span, allowing cancer to go into remission.

Specifically, he extracted a person’s T cells in order to prime them to recognize the type of cancer that is affecting the patient, allowing these primed T cells to attack the growth while sparing healthy cells and tissue.

The results

Riddell’s preliminary findings on the success of T cell therapy to cure previously terminal cases of cancer made a stir at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. on Sunday because of his eye-popping results: 93 percent of the small group of 29 participants with previously incurable or constantly relapsing acute lymphoblastic leukemia have gone into complete remission after undergoing Riddell’s immune cell therapy.

An additional 65 percent of 30 participants with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma have also gone into remission. And while it’s too early to report the results of a small test group of 15 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, —> Read More