An Immune System Trained to Kill Cancer
Scientists have been able to two cause two cases of remission and one case of the disease severely lessing by training healthy cells how to attack the cancerous cells.
A year ago, when chemotherapy stopped working against his leukemia, William Ludwig signed up to be the first patient treated in a bold experiment at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Ludwig, then 65, a retired corrections officer from Bridgeton, N.J., felt his life draining away and thought he had nothing to lose.
Doctors removed a billion of his T-cells — a type of white blood cell that fights viruses and tumors — and gave them new genes that would program the cells to attack his cancer. Then the altered cells were dripped back into Mr. Ludwig’s veins.
At first, nothing happened. But after 10 days, hell broke loose in his hospital room. He began shaking with chills. His temperature shot up. His blood pressure shot down. He became so ill that doctors moved him into intensive care and warned that he might die. His family gathered at the hospital, fearing the worst.
A few weeks later, the fevers were gone. And so was the leukemia.
There was no trace of it anywhere — no leukemic cells in his blood or bone marrow, no more bulging lymph nodes on his CT scan. His doctors calculated that the treatment had killed off two pounds of cancer cells.
A year later, Mr. Ludwig is still in complete remission.
Praise God for Science! I can’t help but feel excited over victories against cancer. For too long cancer has been indiscriminately killing. I can’t wait for the day of it’s complete eradication.
I might be jumping the gun a bit — according to the article, this type of treatment is responsible for some people’s deaths as well — but I can’t help but want to share(and celebrate) any bit of progress science seems to be making.