Cancer. The real ‘C word'.
It’s a bastard of a disease affecting millions upon millions every day, but according to scientists who just ran successful trials of a ‘living drug’, a cure could be closer than we think.
This ground-breaking drug, which uses the body’s own T-cells (a type of white blood cells, pictured) to attack metastatic tumours, had “extraordinary results”, as researchers claimed it could stop cancer from ever returning to the body once a patient has been treated.
Speaking at the annual American Association for the Advancement for Science, Stanley Riddell of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle said: "These are in patients who have failed everything. Most of the patients in our trial would be projected to have two to five months to live. This is extraordinary. This is unprecedented in medicine, to be honest – to get response rates in this range in these very advanced patients."
Tested on several dozen patients who would typically have only had months to live, the first clinical trials for this new therapy saw 94 of the participants with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia have symptoms vanish completely. Patients with other blood cancers show a response rate greater than 80 per cent and more than half experienced complete remission. Remarkable somehow doesn’t cover it.
Following two other clinical trials on 40 patients with either non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or chronic lymphocyte leukaemia, more than 80 per cent of patients responded to the treatment, while about half of them have been in complete remission for up to 18 months.
While it’s being welcomed as a huge success the trials didn’t work for everybody, as some patients experiencing toxic side-reactions and died as a result. Additionally, other leaders in the field have urged caution over early trialling of T-cell therapy.
Needless to say, it’s still early days, and as ever with Cancer research, we’re still a long way off turning the tide for good. But if this sort of progress continues, we might not be far off.
[Via: The Guardian]