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?


Jaded Jeremy said...

You forgot to mention that the research is not funded by pharmaceutical company :) Hope this prove to be truly workable

GVP said...

That is some interesting research. I have yet to proper read the origingal article, but it seems quite promising.

In the 2003 trial, they used HIV-related virus as a vector to deliver antisense gene. The gene contains protein consequences which switch off the virus. Once the gene is integrated into a host cell, anti-viral molecules are produced. Bascially, this lead to inactivation of virus and cure, perhaps.

Normal health people have cytotoxic T and natrual killer T cells, which kill anything foreign to the body. The recent experiment seems to potentiate the killing capacity.

One barrier they are facing now is how to get rid of the "Serial Killer" T cells, after leukamia is cured.

There is currently a gene therapy trial for dogs with progressive retinal atrophy, which is also at UPenn.

debbie said...

Am I the only one that finds it strange we have not cured cancer by any other methods except drugs the pharmaceutical companies sell and chemo that brings a person to knees. You mean to tell me after years and years we are still using the same process?