A new method of treating leukemia, which was developed by experts from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has proved to be effective in 94 percent of patients – in this therapy, immune cells attack the patient’s metastatic cancer.
Patients in the last stages of the disease, to who doctors predicted only two to five months of life, after the treatment had no symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. 18 months later they underwent a series of tests, which showed that the disease has not returned.
The method of the scientists from Seattle is still under investigation, but the stunning results of clinical trials have given hope that a cure for one of the worst diseases of our time could soon be found in use.
The above-mentioned therapy uses its own immune cells to attack the patient’s metastatic cancer. As part of the experiment, doctors treated T-lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) using special molecules, to enable them to recognize and attack tumor cells. Thus treated molecules, known as chimeric antigen receptors, then returned to the patient’s body through an infusion, that has completely wiped symptoms of leukemia.
According to scientists, the modification of T-cells has proven to be effective in cancer in the bone marrow.
– I think we’re at the beginning of something big. This is a real revolution! T-cells are “living medicine” which in the patient’s body can survive a lifetime – says Dr. Stanley Riddell from the Fred Hutchinson Center, one of the lead researchers, who presented the results on the 14 February 2016.
Another important feature of T cells is that they are able to “store” the cancer cells, which means that they will, in the case if the disease comes back, again attack and destroy it.
Experts from Seattle note that it is necessary to perform a series of detailed studies before a new form of treatment becomes widely available.
– The good thing about this method is that it doesn’t cost a lot and is relatively simple.