Sunday, August 14, 2011

Effective Gene Therapy against Leukemia Developed

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Researchers from Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Centre have developed an effective way to control Leukaemia in about three weeks! They have developed a ‘serial killer’ cell that selectively destroys the tumour in patient’s body. It is a US engineered therapy involving treatment against cancer cells using their own T cells. According to the researcher, this treatment is highly effective in blowing away the tumour cells within a month. It has fewer side effects as compared with the Chemotherapy, because unlike chemotherapy, the new therapy is aimed at destroying only the affected cells and not the normal cells of body.

treatment against Leukemia

The T cells of the patient is removed first from the body and re-program it to identify the cancer cells by binding with protein expressed by the cancer cells. Previous therapeutic agents against cancer cells were unable to distinguish between the normal cells and the cancer cells. But with the new technology, the Modified T cells are able to distinguish between the normal cells and the cancer cells enabling them to selectively destroy them without affecting the normal cells in the body. A protein called Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) is used to re-program the T cells.

During the research, Scientists found that the modified T cells are capable of fusion with other T cells inside the body, resulting in formation of more and more number of modified T cells and this helps in a rapid destroying of the Cancer cells. They have found this phenomenon in all the patients underwent treatment.

The researchers are now preparing to test this treatment in children with Leukaemia and also try this method for other types of cancers. Dr. David Porter who was one of the researcher said that they are planning to test this treatment in children with no other options to control the Leukaemia.

The study was published in the Journal of Medicine and science. It is reported that the new treatment modality has only minimal side effects compared to chemotherapy as this treatment can selectively destroy the affected cells only, unlike chemotherapy. This treatment can manage Leukaemia but can be cured only by bone marrow transplantation followed by the therapy. This poses a risk of dying with a 50/50 chances.

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