T Cells Battle Cancer in New Breakthrough Treatment

One's own immune system is empowered to fight the disease
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2018 7:30 PM CDT
'Remarkable' Treatment Arms T Cells Against Breast Cancer
Researchers believe they've eradicated a woman's cancer using her own T cells   (Getty)

A breakthrough cancer treatment is showing what researchers have called "remarkable" promise in the fight against some of the most common forms of the disease. Per NPR, researchers at the National Institutes of Health believe they've completely rid a woman of her metastatic breast cancer after she ran out of all other treatment options and, she believed, out of time. In a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, the researchers describe how they teased out the woman's own T cells that were armed against the very specific DNA mutation that was causing her tumors to grow unchecked. Once found, the T cells were grown billions of times over and given back to the patient along with drugs to encourage them to battle the cancer.

While physically brutal, the treatment appears to have succeeded. Doctors say retired engineer Judy Perkins has been cancer free for two years. As doctors work to make treatments like the one Perkins received more accessible and affordable to people with the most common forms of the disease, other cancer news this week could immediately impact the lives of thousands of women. Most women with the most common form of early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy without hurting their chances of beating the disease, doctors are reported this week in a landmark study that used genetic testing to gauge each patient's risk. The study is the largest ever done of breast cancer treatment, reports the AP, and the results are expected to spare up to 70,000 US patients a year the ordeal and expense. (Read more breast cancer stories.)

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