Thursday, May 8, 2014

Immune cell therapy reaches milestone

NY TIMES – May 8, 2014 – Researchers at the National Cancer Institute reported a first successful use of a long-sought adoptive cell therapy for solid tissue cancer. A 43-year-old Billings, Mont. woman has been given a reprieve from her rare bile duct cancer that had spread to her liver and lungs. The researchers led by Dr. Steven Rosenberg, chief of surgery at the NCI reported the case in the journal Science today. They used genomic techniques to identify cells in her immune system that attacked a specific mutation in her tumor cells. They grew billions of them in the laboratory and infused them back into her blood resulting in significant shrinking of her tumors. Doctors emphasize that she is not cured, but her cancer has remained in check for two years. As this is just one case, it is too early to tell if it will work in others, however it marks a milestone. Immunotherapy has produced similar long-lasting remissions in blood cancers, such as leukemia, and in melanoma, but this is a first for solid tumors.

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