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    Doctors Teach Patient's Cells to Search and Destroy Cancer

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    After fighting leukemia for more than 10 years, a 15-year-old Virginia boy has a clean bill of health thanks to “personalized cell therapy.”

    Nothing’s more heartbreaking for parents than to see their child suffering through cancer. After fighting leukemia for more than 10 years, a 15-year-old Virginia boy has a clean bill of health thanks to “personalized cell therapy.”

    Nick Wilkins had gone through several treatments including the horrors of chemotherapy and radiation as well as a bone marrow transplant, but the cancer diagnosis kept returning.

    His parents found one last resort: a clinical trial where University of Pennsylvania doctors reprogrammed Nick’s T-cells to multiply, seek out, and kill cancer cells much like the body overcomes a cold.

    Nick completed therapy with only short-lived, flu-like side effects.

    After 2 months, doctors declared him cancer-free and still cannot find any cancer traces 6 months later. A majority of minors in the trial have gone into complete remission while about one third of adults went into remission.

    Since trials began in 2010, the relapse rate has been low. Doctors are partnering with medical centers to test on a larger scale in hopes of making the therapy publically available in 3 to 5 years.

    In full disclosure, the doctors and inventors involved “have benefited financially and/or may benefit financially in the future” from their licensing relationship with Novartis, a healthcare company headquartered in Switzerland.