Cancer researchers are elated about the results out today from a new medical study that proves that you can fight cancer using cells from a patient's own immune system.
Sometimes we say, "fight fire with fire"--with this new discovery we are now able to "fight cells with cells."
Imagine having incurable leukemia with no chance for improvement--now there are miraculous options right inside your own body to kill it--it is unbelievable!
Dr. Jon LaPool, CBS News medical correspondent reports that the small study produced what researchers call "proof of concept." It is a completely unique way to kill cancer cells.
Using the blood cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, as the guinea pig, scientists took immune cells to treat a patient's cancer cells and found it quite successful.
According to CBS News, CLL affects nearly 15,000 men and women a year and more than 4,000 will die from it.
On Wednesday, Dr. Carl June and his team at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine won the fight by using immune cells to fight cancer cells in the same person's body. It is a huge breakthrough.
"This is a form of what I would call ultimate personal therapy. That's a wave of the future," June says.
In the past, the only known cure for CLL, was a bone marrow transplant. Since a transplant is only effective in about half of patients and is risky--it has proven not to be the best strategy in the battle for the cancer cure.
Scientists use T-cells which are the white blood cells that fight infections. Then scientists:
~Remove the T-cells
~Reprogram them genetically to attack leukemia cells
~Inject them back into the patient
Can you imagine finding out your cancer cells are completely gone six months after starting treatment?
That's exactly what happened in two out of three patients when researchers removed, reprogrammed, and injected them back into their cancer riddled bodies. The third patient took longer but all are progressing a year after the treatment.
"The clinical doctor involved in this was astonished and so were the patients that a single infusion of the cells could have such pronounced anti-tumor effects in the patients," reported Dr. June, according to CBS News.
There are side-effects but the most severe is flu-like symptoms.
Have you ever seen trained police dogs after they are given the scent of someone? They relentlessly sniff-out the scent and when they find it try to destroy it. The reprogrammed T-cells do the same thing until they have hunted the cancer cells and destroyed them.
The hope in the future is to train those search and kill dogs to recognize the scent of colon cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer.
Author's Note: My sister Laura had Hodgkin's Disease at 17 and 34 years old and breast cancer at 40, she died at the early age of 41. Laura did not die from the cancers that terrorized her body. Laura died from the years of radiation and chemo therapy that literally made her young 40 year old lungs practically crumble.
It will be a beautiful day when we don't have to hear about so many early deaths of our loved ones due to invasive treatments.