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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/20/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Studies conducted on leukemia patients find high rate of complete remission

Scientists are reporting remarkable success in the fight against cancer. Training a leukemia patient's own immune cells to find and destroy cancer, researchers at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have reporter an astonishing 88 percent success rate.

Test subjects in the study all suffered from a relapse of Adult B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This form of blood cancer develops in a person's B cells, called B-ALL.

Test subjects in the study all suffered from a relapse of Adult B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This form of blood cancer develops in a person's B cells, called B-ALL.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/20/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Leukemia, T-cells, cancer, B-ALL, salvage chemotherapy


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists say that of the 88 percent of all the leukemia patients that reported success had their cancer go into complete remission. The study has been the largest-ever attempted of patients with an advanced form of leukemia.

"These extraordinary results demonstrate that cell therapy is a powerful treatment for patients who have exhausted all conventional therapies," one of the study's senior authors, Michel Sadelain says. The director of the Center for Cell Engineering at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Sadelain says that "Our initial findings have held up in a larger cohort of patients, and we are already looking at new clinical studies to advance this novel therapeutic approach in fighting cancer."

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Test subjects in the study all suffered from a relapse of Adult B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This form of blood cancer develops in a person's B cells, called B-ALL.

B-ALL is difficult to treat. Most patients tend to relapse after successful initial therapies. There are very few treatment options for those who do relapse.

Salvage chemotherapy, an aggressive treatment is one of these options. Only 30 percent of all B-ALL patients respond positively to his treatment. Even then, if salvage chemotherapy is successful, the patient would, at best, be in remission -- and not cured.

For any hope of long term survival, B-ALL sufferers need to undergo a successful bone marrow transplant.

The research team gathered 16 people with relapsed B-ALL and infused the volunteer patients with dosages of their own genetically modified T-cells, another white blood cell that protects the body from infection.

So why don't T-cells already fight cancer as they do with viruses like the cold or flu? It turns out that our immune system isn't able to recognize cancer cells as foreign intruders as it would with other forms of infection. T-cells in their natural state aren't helpful in attacking cancer cells.

Immune cells need to be specially trained to find and destroy cancer cells. The researchers "taught" the T-cells through genetic modification to look for and kill cancer cells that contain a protein called CD19.

The successful results achieved by this form of therapy far exceeded the positive response rate of patients who had salvage chemotherapy treatment alone.

Side effects to the cell therapy included flu-like fever, muscle pain, low blood pressure and difficulty breathing, something the doctors referred to as cytokine release syndrome. Cytokine is a form of protein.

The study's investigators are continuing their research to see whether cell therapy could be as successful at treating other forms of cancer as has shown to be with relapsed B-ALL.

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