Sunday, March 24, 2013

Advances in Leukemia Treatment

Leukemia is a disease that is usually lethal. An article on leukemia states that:
When you have leukemia, the bone marrow starts to make a lot of abnormal white blood cells, called leukemia cells. They don't do the work of normal white blood cells, they grow faster than normal cells, and they don't stop growing when they should.

Treatments for it include chemotherapy, radiation treatments, stem cell transplants, and biological therapy. Chronic leukemia can rarely be cured and
patients treated for acute leukemia always have a chance of the cancer coming back.

[caption id="attachment_7294" align="alignright" width="306" caption="Differences between healthy blood and the blood of a patient with leukemia"][/caption]

According to an article in The New York Times, scientists have found positive
results in an experimental treatment for acute leukemia which genetically changes
the immune cells that fight the cancer. The T-cells are taken from the patient’s
blood and given to researchers to insert new genetic material to them. The
blood is then re-entered into the patient. The new genetic material directs the
T-cells to destroy healthy and unhealthy B-cells. The lack of B-cells is
treatable. This new treatment does not work on every patient with leukemia, but
it does help others. It is a large step towards the treatment of cancer. More
research can assist in solving the problems associated with this treatment and
increase the percent of recovered patients.

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