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Saturday, November 25, 2017

FDA Just Approved This New Cancer Treatment

FDA Just Approved This New Cancer Treatment
A new treatment for cancer, called CAR T-cell therapy, has been so effective in finding and attacking leukemia cells that one scientist calls them "killer T-cells." The new cancer treatment was just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has potential to treat a wide variety of blood and solid tumor cancers.

CAR T-cell therapy

CAR T-cell therapy is a brand new method of treating cancer. It works by removing T-cells (white blood cells) from a patient's blood, altering the cells by adding a receptor called CAR (chimeric antigen receptor), then returning the altered T-cells back into the body. The receptors are now ready to find and kill cancer cells. The new cancer treatment has been approved to treat children and young adults (up to age 25) with a recurrent form of the the blood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

The therapy was invented by a group of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania a half decade ago and was used on a six-year-old girl with an aggressive form of ALL. The treatment worked, and the girl, now 12, is cancer-free. The doctors call the CAR T-cells "killer cells" because they work dramatically, substantially improving patients' condition.

Side affects

As with most cancer treatments, there are side affects. CAR T-cell therapy can cause extremely high fevers, which doctors explain come from pumping up the immune system to kill cancer cells.

In addition, the treatment is only approved now for use in treating people aged three to 25 with relapsed ALL that has not responded to conventional therapy. But research doctors continue to work to improve CAR T-cell therapy for use on other patients with cancer in other parts of the body.

Read more about CAR T-cell cancer therapy from Stanford Medicine at med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2017/11/clinical-trial-suggests-new-cell-therapy-for-relapsed-leukemia-patients.html
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