Trials for the treatment of blood cancer have had extremely successful results.
A type of therapy called immunotherapy has been used in trials to treat blood cancer patients with 90 per cent of the 35 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia now in remission.
Immunotherapy involves removing the immune cells from the patients initially. The cells are then tagged with ‘receptor’ molecules which target a specific cancer, and infused back into the body.
The patients in the trial are 18 months into remission so far, and in two other clinical trials involving about 40 patients with either non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or chronic lymphocyte leukaemia, more than 80 per cent of patients responded positively to the treatment.
This discovery is a promising break through for scientists who are researching cancer cures. Dr Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK‘s science information manager said: “Engineering a patient’s own immune cells to fight cancer is an exciting prospect, and the results from this relatively small study are a tantalising demonstration that this could help some people with blood cancers.”
Tests so far have only targeted certain blood cancers, and research into the therapy is still ongoing with scientists focusing on how long patients will stay in remission for. Dr Anrey said: “We still need more results from more trails to know for sure how well they work, and whether they can be used in other cancers too. But there’s a lot of hope that this type of therapy could save lives in the future.”