Saturday, September 02, 2006

A win against cancer: "A postmaster dying of the most dangerous form of skin cancer is one of two men to have been saved after their white blood cells were genetically engineered to fight their tumours. The trial in the US provides the first direct evidence that normal immune system cells can be altered genetically to become tumour-hunters, raising the prospect of a new generation of treatments for cancer. While the therapy has been tried on only the most virulent form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, which accounts for about 3 per cent of cancers in Britain, scientists are convinced that it should work eventually for other tumours, such as those of the breast or lung. The team at the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) have already tailored human white blood cells to recognise and destroy other cancers in the laboratory and are planning to test these on patients soon... Of 17 melanoma patients who were given cells tailored to fight their tumours, only two responded. Even so, these two cases offer proof of the principle that the adapted cells can survive, then shrink tumours"

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