American Scientists Are About to Open a New Door for Cancer Treatment
BETHESDA – June 8, 2018
Groundbreaking treatment saved the life of a woman with late-stage breast cancer by injecting into her bloodstream some of her own immune cells which had been reprogrammed to fight cancer.
A new approach by Dr. Steven Rosenberg from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is to find the few immune cells already in the body that can see those genetic mutations and turn them into an army of cancer killers.
52-year-old Judy Perkins was a late-stage cancer patient. Despite hormonal and chemotherapy treatments, by 2015, cancer had spread to both her chest and liver. She was given no more than three months to live. But fortunately, she found Dr. Steven Rosenberg at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Rosenberg is a pioneer in harnessing the immune system to fight cancer.
In their lab, Rosenberg's team grew those few immune cells into billions, then injected them into Perkins' bloodstream. There, they ganged up to attack cancer cells together. Ten days since she’d gotten the new cells, her tumor began to get softer.
Perkins remains cancer-free two and half years later. Rosenberg believes the army of immune cells are still at work within her body.
This type of immunotherapy is still in its infancy. But Perkins' success could open the door to use this kind of treatment for other solid tumors in the lung, colon and elsewhere.