Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Companies Rush to to Develop 'Utterly Transformative' Gene Therapies

Imagine having a way to engineer your body to be able to fight off certain cancers. Much research and progress is being made in the field of gene therapy and is expected to be seen in leukemia patients within the next few months. Many companies and universities are racing to find ways to implement gene therapy techniques into other blood cancers such as lymphoma. Early studies in leukemia patients showed to be expensive and come with risks such as death due to raging fevers, low blood pressure and congested lungs. Doctors have learned to better control those side effects. The new leukemia treatment involves removing millions of white blood cells, specifically the T cells, which are often known as the soldiers of the immune system, from the blood stream, genetically engineering them to recognize and kill cancer, multiplying them, and then infusing them back into the  patient. Researchers are calling this T-cell treatment. The focus now is getting this treatment fully approved and advancing the treatment onto solid tumors in body organs such as the ovary, breast, prostate, pancreas, and lung. Research has shown that these solid tumors are less amendable to the altered cell treatment because they do not let the T-cells in easily; however, a combination approach of the altered cell method and something else is being worked on to advance the treatment. Researchers are continuously working on that something else every day.


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