A new gene therapy treatment has yielded some amazing results, with one-third of terminal lymphoma (an aggressive cancer that attacks the immune system) patients who received it showing no signs of the disease six months after a single treatment.
The treatment, dubbed CAR-T cell therapy, bolsters the patient’s immune system by removing some of their blood, adding a cancer-targeting gene to certain cells, and then putting them back in the body to multiply and fight.
Of the 101 patients that took part in the trial, 36 per cent remain in remission even six months after the treatment. That’s more than 30 per cent success rate. What’s more, 80 per cent of patients have seen their cancers reduced by at least half following the trial. Astounding!
The trial was carried out by Kite Pharma and though the results have yet to be peer-reviewed, they are promising. The study has literally already saved lives. Most patients with lymphoma blood cancer are usually given an average survival period of just six months. Of those involved in the study, more than half are still alive today, more than six months after the treatment. The treatment, however, doesn’t come without risk — of the 101 who received it, three passed away due to causes unrelated to their cancer, and two of those deaths were tied to the treatment.
Still, we’re willing to call these findings optimistic. Imagine what a difference this could make not just for lymphoma patients, but for patients with all different types of cancer (after more testing, of course).
With any luck, the treatment will be approved and made available to the public after being presented to the American Association for Cancer Research conference in April. Thank you kindly, science.