(Image source: The New York Times)


 BY JASMINE BAILEY


Doctors may be a step closer to finding a cure for leukemia after they successfully altered immune cells to help patients fight the disease.


Emily Whitehead was the first pediatric patient enrolled in the experiment. Chemotherapy wasn’t working and she was dying from leukemia. But because of the experimental treatment, Emily has been cancer-free for 8 months. CBS News explains how scientists use the patient’s own immune cells to attack the cancer.


“They remove the T-cells, genetically engineer them to attack leukemia cells and inject them back into the patient. The engineered T-cell in grey attacks the cancer cell, tented green.”
 

The New York Times Reports:
“The technique employs a disabled form of H.I.V. because it is very good at carrying genetic material into T-cells. The new genes program the T-cells to attack B-cells, a normal part of the immune system that turn malignant in leukemia.”


Three adults with chronic leukemia treated at the University of Pennsylvania have also had complete remissions with no signs of disease. But Centre Daily reports— initially, Emily’s condition looked grave and doctors thought she wasn’t going to make it.


“A few days (after Emily was injected with the altered T-cells, she) spiked a fever. A week later, she was on a ventilator in the pediatric intensive care unit, unable to breathe on her own. On the night of April 24, 2012…the Whiteheads were told their daughter had a 1 in 1,000 chance of surviving the night.”


But when doctors realized it was an elevated protein, as a result of the T-cells growing in her body that was making her sick—they had the chance to intervene.


“There’s a drug that targets that exact protein. We gave her the drug and she had a dramatic response. The ICU doctor on that night told me he had never seen a patient that sick get better that quickly.”


On June 1, Emily got to go home. Since then, the doctors and researchers have been using what they learned from Emily’s case to treat other cancer patients. Their aim is to eventually replace bone-marrow treatments with the new T-cell therapy.
 

 

 

 

Breakthrough Leukemia Treatment Saves Little Girl

by Jasmine Bailey
3
Transcript
Dec 10, 2012

Breakthrough Leukemia Treatment Saves Little Girl

(Image source: The New York Times)


 BY JASMINE BAILEY


Doctors may be a step closer to finding a cure for leukemia after they successfully altered immune cells to help patients fight the disease.


Emily Whitehead was the first pediatric patient enrolled in the experiment. Chemotherapy wasn’t working and she was dying from leukemia. But because of the experimental treatment, Emily has been cancer-free for 8 months. CBS News explains how scientists use the patient’s own immune cells to attack the cancer.


“They remove the T-cells, genetically engineer them to attack leukemia cells and inject them back into the patient. The engineered T-cell in grey attacks the cancer cell, tented green.”
 

The New York Times Reports:
“The technique employs a disabled form of H.I.V. because it is very good at carrying genetic material into T-cells. The new genes program the T-cells to attack B-cells, a normal part of the immune system that turn malignant in leukemia.”


Three adults with chronic leukemia treated at the University of Pennsylvania have also had complete remissions with no signs of disease. But Centre Daily reports— initially, Emily’s condition looked grave and doctors thought she wasn’t going to make it.


“A few days (after Emily was injected with the altered T-cells, she) spiked a fever. A week later, she was on a ventilator in the pediatric intensive care unit, unable to breathe on her own. On the night of April 24, 2012…the Whiteheads were told their daughter had a 1 in 1,000 chance of surviving the night.”


But when doctors realized it was an elevated protein, as a result of the T-cells growing in her body that was making her sick—they had the chance to intervene.


“There’s a drug that targets that exact protein. We gave her the drug and she had a dramatic response. The ICU doctor on that night told me he had never seen a patient that sick get better that quickly.”


On June 1, Emily got to go home. Since then, the doctors and researchers have been using what they learned from Emily’s case to treat other cancer patients. Their aim is to eventually replace bone-marrow treatments with the new T-cell therapy.
 

 

 

 

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