In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cure for leukemia found?

Check out this link on the breakthrough in leukemia research, which could possibly extend to cancer later on.

The title of the news report summarises it best:
"Genetically Modified "Serial Killer" T Cells Obliterate Tumors in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia"

And when they say obliterate, they aren't kidding! Apparently the genetically modified T Cells in the trials killed so many tumor cells (about 2 pounds worth in each patient) that the patients suffered from tumor lysis syndrome - basically the body is flooded with too many dead cancer cells all at once. Carl June, the head researcher, said, "The trial exceeded our wildest . . . imagination..." (or something to that effect).

Although researchers caution that more trials are needed (its only been tried with 3 patients) and the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine cautioned that they've really got to see if barriers to its successful use will pop up later, ... with results like THAT, it sure sounds to me that they've found a real way to combat this specific form of leukemia.

Well, sort of. I'm no medical researcher, but apparently the means through which the genetically T Cells were made are pretty bizzare.

Click on this comic to see the issues with this treatment!

Yeah... holy shit, isn't there some concern that the genetically modified T Cells may go out of control and give you AIDS??? Hypogammaglobulinemiawas apparently an expected chronic result, which sounds a lot milder than full blown immunity deficiency. Furthermore:

"The Penn team pioneered the use of the HIV-derived vector in a clinical trial in 2003 in which they treated HIV patients with an antisense version of the virus. That trial demonstrated the safety of the lentiviral vector used in the present work."

Does that mean its supposed to be safe? Damn, that's some exciting yet scary research going on!

Any doctors care to comment?