Friday, August 15, 2008

Immune Boosters May Cure Cancer

The Telegraph (UK) reported yesterday on the results of a recent cancer study.

Cancer patients have been left free of the disease after being treated with a new drug which harnesses the power of their own immune cells.

Four of 38 patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma have seen "complete regressions" following treatment, while five others saw reductions of 50 per cent in their tumours.

The drug, which could prove cheaper than other therapies that try to achieve the same effect with cells, works by activating the body's own defences to attack the cancer.

The results have been described as an "exciting" and "significant" development in the use of immunotherapy, the process of using the body's own immune system to fight disease.

While the trials were only carried out on patients with the blood cancer, it is hoped the methods can be adapated to tackle other cancers.

This is really good news, although the raw results of 4 of 38 patients doesn't sound very promising. Further details told more of the story:

The results, published in the journal Science, are encouraging because they suggest that the bigger the dose, the bigger the effect.

Coauthor of the study Dr Patrick Baeuerle, of Micromet, said all seven who received the highest dose responded to the drug.

"Two of the seven had a complete response, and five a partial regression (greater than 50 per cent reduction of tumour).".

Let's hope that future studies are able to duplicate and expand the progress of this line of attack on cancer. The human body is amazing, and its ability to repair itself should be harnessed.

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