New York Times, May 8 2014
Patient’s Cells Deployed to Attack Aggressive Cancer
Doctors have taken an important step toward a long-sought goal: harnessing a person’s own immune system to fight cancer.
An article published Thursday in the journal Science describes the treatment of a 43-year-old woman with an advanced and deadly type of cancer that had spread from her bile duct to her liver and lungs, despite chemotherapy.
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute sequenced the genome of her cancer and identified cells from her immune system that attacked a specific mutation in the malignant cells. Then they grew those immune cells in the laboratory and infused billions of them back into her bloodstream.
The tumors began “melting away,” said Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, the senior author of the article and chief of the surgery branch at the cancer institute.
The woman is not cured: Her tumors are shrinking, but not gone. And an experiment on one patient cannot determine whether a new treatment works. But the report is noteworthy because it describes an approach that may also be applied to common tumors (...=
More: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/healt ... &smv2&_r=1
Fortifying the immune system to fight off cancer
Thomas James and Andrea Roane, WUSA 12:14 p.m. EDT May 22, 2014
Now Dr. Rosenberg and his team of NIH scientists have developed a new immunotherapy method that's showing promise in attacking a wide range of cancers.
Bethesda, Md. (WUSA9) -- Cancer kills over 20 thousand people a day worldwide, according to the American Cancer Society. For years, researchers have looked for different ways to stop this foreign invader.
Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD of the National Cancer Institute says now if you develop cancer, you have a 50 percent chance overall of being cured. He says, "We have 3 effective ways to treat cancer now, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy."
"The problem is half of the people that develop cancer are not cured by those modalities and we're in desperate need of new approaches to treatment," adds Dr Rosenberg.
A leading researcher and cancer surgeon, Dr. Rosenberg developed the first effective immunotherapies and gene therapies for patients with advanced cancer. Immunotherapy uses the body's own defense system to target and kill cancer cells. But it's reach was limited to cancers that are highly mutated, like melanoma.
Now he and his team of NIH scientists have developed a new immunotherapy method that's showing promise in attacking a wide range of cancers.
Dr. Rosenberg says, "In this new treatment, what we do is identify all the mutations that are present in a cancer. And develop methods to find out which individual mutations are recognized by the body's immune system, not all of them are.
With this new information, scientists can actually grow immune cells that can see the changes and destroy the cancer. This approach was applied for the first time in 46 year old Melinda Bachini. A Montana woman who had tumors that spread throughout her body.
Bachini tells Aja Goare of KTVQ-TV, "They found a specific T-cell that reacts to that specific mutation in my cancer and grew specifically that one for a month, they put billions of them back in me."
Dr. Rosenberg says, "Her tumors started in the liver and in fact those tend to be very difficult cancers to treat because they start in the epithelial linings of different organs."
In fact, over 80 percent of the deadliest cancers start in the epithelial tissues, including lung, prostate, pancreatic, and colon cancer.
So far, the patient is responding well to this emerging therapy. Her tumors are melting away. Dr. Rosenberg says they are working around the clock to improve on this treatment for more patients.
Bachini says, "The made a blueprint with me so that's where they've started, so I'm the first but I hope i'm the first of many."
This therapy is in very early stages so it is no where near ready for prime-time. But Dr. Rosenberg says the research provides a blueprint to attack specific mutations that are unique to a patient's individual cancer.
The National Cancer Institute is a component of the National Institutes of Health.
Video at http://www.wusa9.com/story/news/health/ ... t/9436859/
May 18, 2014 8:27 PM by Aja Goare - Q2 News
Billings woman experiences success as first patient in trial cancer treatment
BILLINGS - The cure for cancer is something doctors and scientists have searched for, for years.
Though there's no proven cure, a new trial treatment is giving hope to one woman, right here in Billings.
"Four and a half years ago I was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, which is the cancer of the bile ducts," said Melinda Bachini. "It's very rare and there is no proven treatment for it right now. So I knew at the time we'd have to find something experimental and new if we wanted to beat it."
So she began her search online.
"I stumbled across it on the computer, I can't even tell you how. I clicked on it and it was like boom - it was there," she said. "And just reading it, I was convinced from that moment that this is what I want to do."
It was a last click effort to end the battle that she just couldn't stand to fight any more.
"At the beginning of 2012, I was just about ready to be done with chemo and have better quality of life than quantity, and I came across the clinical trial at the institute of health in Bethesda, MD."
It was a trial with no previous patients and no proof of success - a true experiment.
"I'm listed as patient 3737, but I've never felt like a number."
Number 3737 in a journal of science, but a living, breathing mother of six in real life, who can do a much better job at explaining the treatment than 10 syllable words on in a journal.
"To me this is the simple way of saying it," she began. "They found a specific T-cell that reacts to that specific mutation in my cancer and grew specifically that one for a month, they put billions of them back in me."
Billions of her own T-cells are diminishing the tumors day by day. The battle's not over, but the building blocks for survival both for Melinda and others with cancer are there.
"They made a blue print with me so that's where they've started, so I'm the first but I hope I'm the first of many."
Now, because there's no way of knowing if this form of immunotherapy treatment will work the same for every patient and all cancers.
The trials are still in the early stages, but for Melinda the tumors are shrinking.
Video at http://www.ktvq.com/news/billings-woman ... treatment/
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