Researchers reprogram T cells to fight leukemia.
In a 1,000-word article, the AP (12/8, Marchione) reported, “In one of the biggest advances against leukemia and other blood cancers in many years, doctors are reporting unprecedented success by using gene therapy to transform patients’ blood cells into soldiers that seek and destroy cancer.”
In an 1,100-word article on its website, CNN (12/8, Cohen) reported that first, a patient’s T cells are removed. Physicians “then reprogram the cells by transferring in new genes.” After they are “infused back into the body, each modified cell multiplies to 10,000 cells. These “hunter” cells then track down and kill the cancer in a patient’s body.”
In an 1,100-word article, Bloomberg News (12/8, Lopatto) reported, that in one study, presented at the American Society of Hematology meeting, researchers found “that 15 of 32 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia experienced a reduction of their cancers and 7 achieved remission.” Meanwhile, researchers found that among those “with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, 19 of 22 children experienced complete remission, as did all five adults tested.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer (12/8, McCullough) pointed out, however, that as is the case “with conventional chemotherapy and radiation, remissions achieved with the T cells are not necessarily cures.” The data indicated that “five pediatric patients whose cancer seemed to be eradicated – sensitive technology could not detect a single malignant cell – relapsed after months of robust health.”