Tuesday, December 10, 2013

T-CELLS ATTACK (Video of T cells attacking cancer cells)

This is truly a groundbreaking story of a young man now winning his battle with leukemia.  Diagnosed when he was 4 years old, Nick went through the normal treatments for cancer, but after chemotherapy, radiation treatment and a bone marrow transplant all failed Dr's implemented a new therapy.  Now 15 years old Nick and his family agreed to try this amazing new procedure which consists of reprogramming T-cells so they attack cancer cells.

"This is absolutely one of the more exciting advances I've seen in cancer therapy in the last 20 years," said Dr. David Porter, a hematologist and oncologist at Penn. "We've entered into a whole new realm of medicine."
In the therapy, doctors first remove the patient's T-cells, which play a crucial role in the immune system. They then reprogram the cells by transferring in new genes. Once infused back into the body, each modified cell multiplies to 10,000 cells. These "hunter" cells then track down and kill the cancer in a patient's body.


It's been six months since Nick, now 15, received the personalized cell therapy, and doctors still can find no trace of leukemia in his system.

Doctors are cautiously optimistic. The studies have only been going on since 2010, but so far relapse rates have been relatively low: of the 18 other pediatric patients who went into complete remission, only five have relapsed and of the 12 adults who went into complete remission, only one relapsed. Some of the adult patients have been cancer-free and without a relapse for more than three years and counting.

Relapses after this personalized cell therapy may be more promising than relapses after chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant, Porter explained.

First, doctors have been delighted to find the reengineered T-cells -- the ones that know how to hunt down and attack cancer -- are still alive in the patients' bodies after more than three years.
This shows great promise and the unyielding drive of the medical community to keep fighting and progressing against the war on cancer.


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