A new technique for treating blood-based cancers has been dramatically effective at instigating remission. In one study the technique was used on 35 terminally ill patients suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, 94% of the patients saw their cancer go into remission. Another study saw 9 out of 10 patients leukaemia symptoms completely vanish.
The treatment works by removing some of a patient’s T-Cells and modifying them to specifically target cancer cells. The T-Cells are ‘outfitted’ with a molecule, developed in genetically modified mice, known as Chimeric Antigen Receptors. When combined, the ‘outfitted’ T-Cells will bind to and prevent the cancer from protecting itself from the immune system.
So far the treatment has only been used on blood-based cancer and it is not known if it will work effectively against solid, tumor-based, cancers. Additionally the treatment has only been used on patients in the later stages of cancer and those who have not responded to standard methods of treatment, it’s unclear if it will react to earlier stages.
2 patients have reportedly died from an extreme immune response to the treatment, though it should be kept in mind that these patients didn’t respond to any other treatment and only had a few months to live. It should also be noted that the treatment has only instigated remission of the cancer and as of yet cannot be considered a complete cure. Despite these complications, the results have been considered “Staggering” and “Unprecedented”