Dr. Renier J. Brentjens, left, and Dr. Michel Sadelain at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York on Tuesday.
By DENISE GRADY Published: March 20, 2013
Acute Leukemia in adults usually produces poor outcomes, generally death. Dr's Ranier J. Brentjens and Dr. Michael Sadelain at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York have experienced wonderful responses to a new treatment that genetically alters a patients own immune cells. The body now has a chance at fighting off these cancer cells and studies have shown remission in some adults. Although this sounds promising the treatment has not been proven effective in all patients, but it is a huge beginning.
The treatment uses patients’ own T-cells, a type of white blood cell that normally fights viruses and cancer. The patient’s blood is run through a machine that extracts T-cells and returns the rest of the blood to the body. Researchers then do some genetic engineering: they use a disabled virus as a “vector” to carry new genetic material into the T cells, which reprograms them to recognize and kill any cell that carries a particular protein on its surface.
Other studies are making headway with good results as seen in this article: http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/5/177/177ra38.
The race for cures and or slowing of such diseases is ever paramount. I myself, have had the unfortunate greetings of pancreatic cancer that took the life of my husband in four short months once diagnosed. To be able to "re-program" the T-cells to attack solid tumors is being researched. It feels as if science is making some headway in the retardation of some cancers and obliteration of others. Due to personal experiences I find myself keeping an ear to the footsteps of this ongoing battle. This is a resource FYI: http://www.cancertreatmentnavigator.com/
This article can be viewed at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/21/health/altered-t-cell-therapy-shows-promise-for-acute-leukemia.html?pagewanted=all