Therapy turns patients’ cells into cancer smart bombs

Global, News — By on March 6, 2010 at 11:35 am

(CNN) – On today’s AM house call, Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported a remarkable story about a cancer vaccine that is working on a woman who, according to statistics, should probably be dead by now. Doctors say what seems like a medical miracle could become the norm.

Instead of using surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, researchers from the National Institutes of Health are finding so-far limited but inspiring success in a new approach for fighting cancer, using the immune system to attack the tumors the way it would a cold or flu.

The human immune system doesn’t usually fight cancer on its own, so Dr. Steven Rosenberg and his NIH colleagues are trying to genetically engineer it, using a virus they created in the lab that seeks out cancer tumors and attaches to them.

Rosenberg’s idea: Mix the cells that seek out the cancer with the immune cells that destroy things and see whether it would create a sort of smart bomb for the cancer. (Rosenberg: ‘Just a start’)

In the study, Rosenberg tested the approach in 17 patients with advanced melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer. All the conventional treatments for the disease already had failed in all of the patients.

In 15 of the patients Rosenberg’s engineered immune-cell treatment didn’t work, but in two of the patients the cancer seems to have completely disappeared. The findings are published in this week’s issue of the journal Science.

Please read the complete article and let us know what you think below.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply


Leave a Trackback