Science and Tech


New Treatment Helps Patients Fight Cancer Like Common Cold

A new treatment for cancer has many in the medical community excited and has helped 25 people become cancer-free.
Posted at 2:01 PM, Dec 08, 2013

A new treatment for cancer has many in the medical community excited and has helped 25 people become cancer-free.

"What if you could fight off cancer as easily as the common cold? Researchers now testing this idea by reprogramming the cells of leukemia patients to destroy cancer cells similar to the way your body fights a virus." (Via Fox News)

The treatment comes from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. This new treatment doesn't have a very large sampling size yet, but numbers have been encouraging with the small group.

According to  Newser, of 37 adult leukemia patients, 12 went into remission and another eight went into partial remission. Of 21 pediatric patients, an overwhelming majority of 18 went into complete remission. 

CNN tells the story of a young teen who tried chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant before giving the treatment a try. 

"I'm feeling good now, so I think they did pretty well."

The Philadelphia Inquirer points out the treatment is actually much more effective with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, mostly found in children, than with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mostly found in adults. (Via Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

"Of 22 children and five adults with ALL, 89 percent experienced complete remissions. ... Only seven of the 32 adults with CLL had complete remissions."

As with any cancer treatment, the big question is relapse, but CNN points out the numbers appear to be encouraging in this area as well.

"Of the 18 other pediatric patients who went into complete remission, only five have relapsed, and of the 12 adults who went into complete remission, only one relapsed. Some of the adult patients have been cancer-free and without a relapse for more than three years and counting."

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease. It is estimated leukemia specifically will kill more than 23,000 people in 2013.