## Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leukemia

Ever had it before? Well you got it again.
Anaxagoras
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### Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leukemia

A Breakthrough Against Leukemia Using Altered T-cells
PHILIPSBURG, Pa. — Emma Whitehead has been bounding around the house lately, practicing somersaults and rugby-style tumbles that make her parents wince.

It is hard to believe, but last spring Emma, then 6, was near death from leukemia. She had relapsed twice after chemotherapy, and doctors had run out of options.

Desperate to save her, her parents sought an experimental treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, one that had never before been tried in a child, or in anyone with the type of leukemia Emma had. The experiment, in April, used a disabled form of the AIDS virus to reprogram Emma’s immune system genetically to kill cancer cells.

The treatment very nearly killed her. But she emerged from it cancer-free, and seven months later is still in complete remission. She is the first child and one of the first humans ever in whom new techniques have achieved a long-sought goal — giving a patient’s own immune system the lasting ability to fight cancer.
. . .
She is among just a dozen patients with advanced leukemia to have received the experimental treatment, which was developed at the University of Pennsylvania. Similar approaches are also being tried at other centers, including the National Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
. . .
Three adults with chronic leukemia treated at the University of Pennsylvania have also had complete remissions, with no signs of disease; two of them have been well for more than two years, said Dr. David Porter. Four adults improved but did not have full remissions, and one was treated too recently to evaluate. A child improved and then relapsed. In two adults, the treatment did not work at all. The Pennsylvania researchers are presenting their results on Sunday and Monday in Atlanta at a meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Despite the mixed results, cancer experts not involved with the research say it has tremendous promise, because even in this early phase of testing it has worked in seemingly hopeless cases.
It's kind of amazing in an ironic way that this therapy actually uses a modified version of the HIV virus. A deadly plague could actually be turned into something useful.

Yay for Science!

There are some downsides to the treatment though:
A sign that the treatment is working is that the patient becomes terribly ill, with raging fevers and chills — a reaction that oncologists call “shake and bake,” Dr. June said. Its medical name is cytokine-release syndrome, or cytokine storm, referring to the natural chemicals that pour out of cells in the immune system as they are being activated, causing fevers and other symptoms. The storm can also flood the lungs and cause perilous drops in blood pressure — effects that nearly killed Emma.

Steroids sometimes ease the reaction, but did not help Emma. Her temperature hit 105. She wound up on a ventilator, unconscious and swollen almost beyond recognition, surrounded by friends and family who had come to say goodbye.

But at the eleventh hour, a battery of blood tests gave the researchers a clue as to what might help save Emma: Her level of one of the cytokines, interleukin-6 or IL-6, had shot up a thousandfold. Doctors had never seen such a spike before and thought it might be what was making her so sick. Dr. June knew that a drug could lower IL-6 — his daughter takes it, for rheumatoid arthritis. It had never been used for a crisis like Emma’s, but there was little to lose. Her oncologist, Dr. Stephan A. Grupp, ordered the drug. The response, he said, was “amazing.”

Within hours, Emma began to stabilize. She woke up a week later, on May 2, the day she turned 7; the intensive-care staff sang “Happy Birthday.”

Since then, the research team has used the same drug, tocilizumab, in several other patients.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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Doctor X
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

Or she could have, you know, just had acupuncture. . . .

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izittrue
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

I was thinking prayer would of helped.
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Mentat
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

Fools. Do you really think autism is better than leukemia?!
It's "pea-can", man.

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gnome
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

She is being injected with t3h AIDS! They admitted it!
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
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Doctor X
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

I must confess that whenever I get a vaccination, I will look at the nurse with a vacant sort of stare and ask her if it will give me autism. . . .

Oh you guys suck!

--J.D.
Mob of the Mean: Free beanie, cattle-prod and Charley Fan Club!
"Doctor X is just treating you the way he treats everyone--as subhuman crap too dumb to breathe in after you breathe out."--Don
DocX: FTW.--sparks
"Doctor X wins again."--Pyrrho
"Never sorry to make a racist Fucktard cry."--His Humble MagNIfIcence
"It was the criticisms of Doc X, actually, that let me see more clearly how far the hypocrisy had gone."--clarsct
"I'd leave it up to Doctor X who has been a benevolent tyrant so far."--Grammatron
"Indeed you are a river to your people.
Shit. That's going to end up in your sig."--Pyrrho
"Try a twelve step program and accept Doctor X as your High Power."--asthmatic camel
"just like Doc X said." --gnome

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Pyrrho
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

I like good news. Thanks, Anaxagoras.
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clarsct
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

Hot Damn.

This is pretty fucking awesome. Looks like it needs some work, so the cure doesn't kill, but for those with no other hope...

T-15 years for FDA approval...or am I being optimistic?
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Anaxagoras
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

Not sure if FDA approval is needed. It's a technique, not a drug.
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DrMatt
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

Anaxagoras wrote:Not sure if FDA approval is needed. It's a technique, not a drug.
It uses specific "controversial" substances for a specific purpose. Using them to grow bigger tits would be off-label. Seems like it might or might not be their bailiwick, one for the courts to decide if it ever comes to that.
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Tiosylanyl
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

Anaxagoras wrote:Not sure if FDA approval is needed. It's a technique, not a drug.
It depends on how commonplace the practice becomes in the future. The technique is separate from the drugs and materials used in the procedure. According to the article, the technique uses a "disabled" form of the HIV virus, similar to vaccines, which are considered drugs and regulated by the FDA. While still in the experimental phase you're probably correct, and it is more likely be monitored by the AMA and CMS. However, if this becomes a mainstream cancer treatment the "vaccine" (for lack of a better term) would need to go through the same FDA approvals as other drugs/vaccines.

ETA:

A major drug company, Novartis, is betting on the Pennsylvania team and has committed $20 million to building a research center on the university’s campus to bring the treatment to market. Drug companies don't just donate that kind of cash without the expectation of bringing new drugs to market which, again, will require FDA approval. Anaxagoras Posts: 22864 Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:45 am Location: Yokohama/Tokyo, Japan ### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk Had a little trouble finding this thread again, because one article gives her name as "Emma" and another "Emily". Anywho . . . Some update to this story: http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherp ... re-cancer/ She still is, two years later–taking piano lessons, wrestling with her dog and loving school, which she couldn’t attend while sick. “I’ve been an oncologist for 20 years,” says Grupp, “and I have never, ever seen anything like this.” Emily has become the poster child for a radical new treatment that Novartis, the third-biggest drug company on the Forbes Global 2000, is making one of the top priorities in its$9.9 billion research and development budget.

“I’ve told the team that resources are not an issue. Speed is the issue,” says Novartis Chief Executive Joseph Jimenez, 54. “I want to hear what it takes to run this phase III trial and to get this to market. You’re talking about patients who are about to die. The pain of having to turn patients away is such that we are going as fast as we can and not letting resources get in the way. ”

A successful trial would prove a milestone in the fight against the demon that has plagued living things since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Coupled with the exploding capabilities of DNA-sequencing machines that can unlock the genetic code, recent drugs have delivered stunning results in lung cancer, melanoma and other deadly tumors, sometimes making them disappear entirely–albeit temporarily. Just last year the Food & Drug Administration approved nine targeted cancer drugs. It’s big business, too. According to data provider IMS Health, spending on oncology drugs was \$91 billion last year, triple what it was in 2003.

But the developments at Penn point, tantalizingly, to something more, something that would rank among the great milestones in the history of mankind: a true cure. Of 25 children and 5 adults with Emily’s disease, ALL, 27 had a complete remission, in which cancer becomes undetectable. “
It’s a stunning breakthrough,” says Sally Church, of drug development advisor Icarus Consultants. Says Crystal Mackall, who is developing similar treatments at the National Cancer Institute: “It really is a revolution. This is going to open the door for all sorts of cell-based and gene therapy for all kinds of disease because it’s going to demonstrate that it’s economically viable.”
To repeat, there's been complete remission in 27 out of 27 cases for this particular kind of cancer. To be sure, a cure for one kind of cancer probably isn't a cure for all cancer, but it's a gaddamned stupendous thing anyway. And I still like the ironic bit that they actually took a deadly virus and turned it into a cure for cancer. Fucking-A!

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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Rob Lister
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

... sometimes making them disappear entirely–albeit temporarily.
No trying to sound like a naysayer, but that qualification might be important.

Anaxagoras
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

Rob Lister wrote:
... sometimes making them disappear entirely–albeit temporarily.
No trying to sound like a naysayer, but that qualification might be important.
That's other anti-cancer drugs they're talking about, not this HIV-based treatment.
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Bearguin
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

How does 25 children and 5 adults become 27?

Pyrrho
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

Bearguin wrote:How does 25 children and 5 adults become 27?
The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

Pyrrho
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

Anaxagoras
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

Bearguin wrote:How does 25 children and 5 adults become 27?

How did I not see that?
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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Bruce
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### Re: Wow. In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leuk

We should take this power and use it against them.

No. The One Ring is far too powerful.

Aw shucks. What about AIDS, then. Can we take the power of AIDS and use it against them?

Um........sure. I don't see why not.

YES!
Such potential!