A very real cure for cancer?

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
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#1
I've been tempted to post up pieces on stem cell therapies for some time, but it always seemed experimental and perhaps too niche to be of interest.

However, today the BBC News website features a big headline about a new cancer treatment that, although experimental, has had terrific results so far. In effect, it's personalized treatment that has been suggested for some time would be the future of medicine - so perhaps it is finally arriving:

'Remarkable' therapy beats terminal breast cancer

The life of a woman with terminal breast cancer has been saved by a pioneering new therapy, say US researchers.

It involved pumping 90 billion cancer-killing immune cells into her body.

Judy Perkins had been given three months to live, but two years later there is no sign of cancer in her body.

The team at the US National Cancer Institute says the therapy is still experimental, but could transform the treatment of all cancer.
 

Edward M. Grant

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#3
Most cancers seem to be due to immune system failures: it looks increasingly like we get micro-cancers all the time, but the immune system eats them before they grow large enough to become a problem. So the ultimate cure probably is to improve the immune system to target them better.

This helps to explain why the majority of cancers happen in old age, because the immune system starts to go into a steep decline in the 40s.
 

Vertigo

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#5
It had slipped my mind but they mentioned this on Radio 4 yesterday morning. Sounds very promising. Not sure it's anything to do with stem cells. Essentially they are taking the patients own white blood cells, screening out the ones that are already attacking the cancer, "breeding" them in huge quantities and then sending them as reinforcements to the existing ones.

I think one of the really interesting aspects is that the treatment admits that we cannot create an effective synthetic cure for cancer but maybe we can figure out how to strengthen our own existing defence.
 

Foxbat

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#6
Saw this on the news this morning. Let's hope it leads to greater things for all cancer sufferers.
 
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