New Treatment Kills Cancer Like It's a Cold
T-cells are infused with genes to kill off cancer
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2013 9:52 AM CST
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(Newser) – What if people's immune cells could battle cancer like they fight off the common cold? Researchers at three US cancer centers are testing just such an idea by reprogramming the T-cells of cancer patients to destroy cancer cells—and it's working remarkably well, CNN reports. "This is absolutely one of the more exciting advances I've seen in cancer therapy in the last 20 years," said David Porter, a doctor at the University of Pennsylvania. "We've entered into a whole new realm of medicine."

The Penn study numbers are small but encouraging: Of 37 adult leukemia patients, 12 went into remission, eight into partial remission, and the rest saw improvements. Of 21 pediatric cases, 18 went into complete remission with pretty low relapse rates. The treatment does give patients flu-like symptoms, but that seems a small price to pay. And doctors say that reprogrammed T-cells are surviving in patients for more than 3 years. Could this be the future? "Our hope is that this can progress really quite quickly," said Porter. "It won't be available to everyone next year, but I don't think it would take a decade, either."

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Dale Latimer
Dec 14, 2013 9:12 AM CST
Because the root comment under which someone replied to me was deleted... @white_santa I live in the Northeast. Ice cream is only sold in cartons this time of year; no trucks till the spring.
Dec 9, 2013 9:34 PM CST
What a beautiful woman with a brilliant smile in the Newser photo. After spending BILLIONS of dollars and years of research on cancer cures it would be marvelous to finally see some results...
Dec 9, 2013 12:45 PM CST
This treatment was remarkably effective- so far for 30% of the people it was used on- I don't think medicine overall as very effective. In addition, it rests on an assumption t cells alone are responsible for leukemia- an assumption that is erroneous as their are other explanations for leukemia.