HEALTH

Leukemia clinical trial proves successful in some patients

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A bit of good news is out in the fight against cancer: a clinical trial has proved to send some cancer patients’ Leukemia into remission.

The clinical trial uses patient’s own immune cells, which were genetically altered, to fight the cancer in patients battling a deadly form of Leukemia.

In the trial, five patients with untreatable cancer used a virus to inject genetic material into a patient’s own white cells to turn them into cancer fighters, ABC News reported. All the patients went into remission.

While this is not yet being treated as a replacement of receiving a bone marrow transplant, experts say that they do not see a reason why that may not be an option in the future.

Depending on what you inject in the cells, there is potential that you can target different kinds of cancer. 

Doctor Richard Besser says the University of Pennsylvania researchers took the white blood cells of leukemia patients, or their t-cells, then injected them with a modified and harmless form of the HIV virus, “so they're programmed to go back in and fight and destroy the cancer cells."

The serial killer cells did what chemotheraphy cannot, say researchers.

But it was not easy for the three patients who participated in this pilot study. Some suffered from a violent reaction.

But for test subjects, there was a battle going on against the cancer. And in the end, they found no traces of cancer.

One test subject was given just weeks to live. He's been in complete remission for a year.

Bianca Brown of Lorton says she’s thankful that such a promising drug has been found.

"There are a lot of people who have cancer,” she says. “It’s prevalent in my family. It’s great that could help people out.”

Jack Bledsoe of Fairfax agrees.

“I just lost my wife in February from cancer,” he says. “Any step in the right direction to cure cancer is a good step.”

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