Say hello to the future of cancer treatment. Two babies suffering from leukemia are officially in remission at a London hospital. After running out of treatment options, doctors cured the infants by tweaking T-cells from a healthy donor and administrating the cells into the babies’ bodies. Pretty amazing, right?
This is so exciting! It looks like an easier, more effective way to tackle cancer has arrived! After all, after trying out a new treatment method, two babies who had been suffering from an advanced form of leukemia are currently in remission at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, according to WebMD.
— WebMD (@WebMD) January 27, 2017
Sadly both babies had run out of treatment options for their cancer, which is also known as B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia — or ALL. The two had even gone through chemotherapy to no avail. However, after undergoing a procedure that involved administering genetically altered T-cells — a type of immune system cell — both infants have gone into remission.
Even crazier, this was THE first attempt in the world to treat cancer with genetically engineered immune cells provided by a donor, according to Futurism. In this miraculous case, which was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, doctors engineered T-cells to become “one size fits all” for the two cancer patients. The babies were then hooked up to an IV where the modified cells were dripped into their veins whenever needed.
The T-cells were specifically altered to be “armed” with chimeric antigen receptors — or CARs. Why? That allows the T-cells to recognize and attack the ALL, or cancer, cells once they are infused back into the patient’s blood. After only 28 days of receiving their T-cell infusions, the babies were in remission. After that, they were able to undergo chemo and a bone marrow transplant. Doing that wiped out the little ones’ existing immune systems and replaced it with a healthy one.
The babies are currently “at home and doing well,” according to Dr. Waseem Qasim, a professor of cell and gene therapy who is one of the doctors reporting on the cases. They have remained leukemia-free for 10 and 16 months but still have to be monitored for “some time.”
And while more tests still need to be done, if this T-cell treatment did fully cure the infants, this new method could potentially save millions of lives! In fact, small trials are already under way to see if the therapy can be more widely applied, Dr. Waseem said.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — are you amazed these two babies are now cancer-free? Do you think this changes everything in terms of cancer research?