News / Health

    Researchers Develop Promising Treatment for Leukemia

    This microscopy image provided by Dr. Carl June shows immune system T-cells (C) binding to beads that cause the cells to divide, then are later removed to leave pure T-cells, which are then ready for infusion to leukemia patients, August 2011.This microscopy image provided by Dr. Carl June shows immune system T-cells (C) binding to beads that cause the cells to divide, then are later removed to leave pure T-cells, which are then ready for infusion to leukemia patients, August 2011.
    x
    This microscopy image provided by Dr. Carl June shows immune system T-cells (C) binding to beads that cause the cells to divide, then are later removed to leave pure T-cells, which are then ready for infusion to leukemia patients, August 2011.
    This microscopy image provided by Dr. Carl June shows immune system T-cells (C) binding to beads that cause the cells to divide, then are later removed to leave pure T-cells, which are then ready for infusion to leukemia patients, August 2011.
    Jessica Berman
    An experimental leukemia therapy appears to have successfully eliminated the lethal blood cancer in some patients. The treatment, which involves a disabled form of the virus that causes AIDS, revs-up immune system cells that then specifically target the malignant cells.

    A dozen patients have now undergone the experimental therapy, developed at the University of Pennsylvania. The treatment involves removing millions of T-cells, a type of white blood cell, from each patient and inserting genes that have been programmed to kill B-cells, another type of cell that becomes malignant in leukemia.

    The researchers used a non-infectious form of the AIDS virus to transport genetic material into the T-cells, which were then infused back into the cancer patient following chemotherapy. The genetically modified cells attack a protein on the surface of B-cells, killing them, and prompting the production of more modified T-cells.
     
    So far, the experimental treatment has been used successfully on a child with an aggressive form of leukemia and on three adults, all of whom show no signs of disease two years after receiving the therapy.  

    John Wagner, director of pediatric and bone marrow transplantation at the University of Minnesota, is among those widely praising the new therapy to treat the lethal cancer.

    “Basically what this is now is it’s a whole new strategy above and beyond chemotherapy or radiation that uses a whole difficult mechanism to eradicate leukemia that’s particularly resistant,” said Wagner.

    Although the treatment was very effective in eliminating disease in four patients, it was only partially effective in two others, who relapsed after therapy. Two patients did not respond at all.   

    While the new, modified T-cell therapy is an exciting development, Wagner said it only targets a narrow aspect of the blood cancer. The conventional treatment approach is a bone-marrow transplant, which is designed to create a healthy new immune system.

    “Bone marrow transplant sort of tackles it all. It’s like throwing the kitchen sink at everything, whereas this is very specific. Clearly, this is very effective in some patients," he said. "But I’m going to be using it in combination to see whether or not I can actually improve the outcome after transplant, above and beyond what we currently see today.”

    Details of the experimental leukemia therapy were presented this week at a meeting of the American Society of Hematology in Atlanta. The findings were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora