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New 'living drug' could help treat cancer

Posted on Tuesday, 16 February, 2016 | Comment icon 16 comments

Scientists have reported promising results following clinical trials. Image Credit: PD - John Keith
Clinical trials have shown that engineered 'memory t-cells' can act as a long-term cancer vaccine.
Scientists have revealed their latest weapon in the battle against cancer - a treatment that involves engineering immune cells that can boost the body's natural defenses and fight off the disease.

At a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, researchers revealed that clinical trials involving this technique have produced 'extraordinary results'.

In one of the studies, 94% of patients with lymphoblastic leukaemia - some having only months to live - saw symptoms vanish entirely, while 80% of patients with other types of blood cancer also experienced substantial improvements with more than half of them reporting complete remission.

"This is unprecedented in medicine, to be honest, to get response rates in this range in these very advanced patients," said AAAS researcher Stanley Riddell.

On top of this the t-cells tend to stick around in the body afterwards and act as a sentry of sorts that prevents the cancer from returning for years, sometimes decades, afterwards.

While the results do sound promising it is important to remember that the treatment did not work for everyone and it is not a 'cure' as such - instead it is likely to eventually become an option for patients much in the same way as chemotherapy and radiotherapy are options today.

According to Riddell it is unknown when, or even if, the research will move beyond clinical trials however he did suggest that the team was "very close to some cellular product."

"I think immunotherapy has finally made it to a pillar of cancer therapy," he said.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (16)

Tags: Cancer, Medicine

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by YA AMAR on 17 February, 2016, 17:28
are you a doctor or work for the pharma industry ? i think your statement towards me and absinthe is very rude ... i happen to be a cancer patient so i ask you in all kindness what you know if you call us stupid ... are you claiming it isnt true ? i wonder if there is a cure for rudeness maybe a small Dose of R E S P E C T
Comment icon #8 Posted by paperdyer on 17 February, 2016, 17:30
Wasn't it last year that scientists thought a modified HIV virus would cure cancer? Drugs are costly because: 1 - They can be - make money while you can 2 - They have to be to pay for research 3 - Testing isn't cheap 4 - Law suits aren't cheap either if the product causes an issue down the road.
Comment icon #9 Posted by YA AMAR on 17 February, 2016, 18:26
i beg to differ that most drugs are costly, and i can tell you why ... its all just about the money
Comment icon #10 Posted by Talion78 on 17 February, 2016, 19:30
There is a cure for everything, nature doesn't make anything without it's opposite, for every disease there is a natural cure. Do i believe we already have a cure? Yes. When cancer is eventually called curable, controlable there will be a new disease to kill us off.
Comment icon #11 Posted by gatekeeper32 on 17 February, 2016, 20:22
Questions are going to be who will have access to the treatment and how much will it cost? Seems anything that could help in saving human life will cost one to work the reminder of their life to pay it off.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Rlyeh on 18 February, 2016, 1:51
It's easy to blame others for your illness.
Comment icon #13 Posted by YA AMAR on 18 February, 2016, 11:17
okay , i give you one so simple example and next time you go shopping do me a favor ... check various food items and their ingredients ... candy , fruit juices , processed meats , chips etc etc when i was a child and i bought a pack of gum it contained a loooooot of sugar refined sugar which in itself is unhealthy for the human body . When i want to buy a pack of gum these days ...i read Aspartame matter of fact i cant find any gum without it . why is that ? i am sure you know what Aspartame really is . When i look at the name FDA FOOD AND '' DRUG '' Administration ... that i... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by Rlyeh on 18 February, 2016, 13:02
I can. However would it be easier if the information wasn't present? The word drug scares you? Medication is drugs. These people don't scare you? They work with "drugs", that scary word again. Is that the straw man you want to attack?
Comment icon #15 Posted by TripGun on 19 February, 2016, 18:36
There is no money in cures. Cures are bad for the economy.

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