Sunday, August 6, 2017

Gene-Altering Leukemia Treatment

An article in the New York Times discusses the recent recommendation on approval of a gene-altering Leukemia treatment.  The recommendation came from the FDA panel and it would allow allow the genetic alteration of a patients cells to fight their own cancer.  If the FDA accepts the recommendation, it will be the first gene therapy to reach the market in the United States.  Novartis is the drug company that will likely be first; they target the treatment of Leukemia but are currently working on other types of cancer.  Emily Whitehead was the first child to revive the treatment, as a clinical trial, and it saved her life; Whitehead grew very ill and came close to death but she emerged cancer free.  This is one of the main reasons there has been hesitation with this therapy.  In some cases the patients suffer from life-threatning illness; however, this treatment can be an alternative to the toxic treatments like chemotherapy.  There are still questions about the short-term side affects as well as the chances these cells can cause secondary cancer later in life.  In the current studies the cancer has not reappeared but the study will continue continue until fifteen years from treatment.  This could be a huge breakthrough on curing cancer, this is so important because cancer is hard to fight and the current toxic treatments further break down the immune system making it hared to patients to stay healthy.  This is a huge step in the right direction and will most likely be approved by the FDA.

1 comment:

  1. It would be amazing to be able to program cells to fight cancer without using chemotherapy and be able to spare patients of its side effects.