Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania say that a new treatment used to fight leukemia may be one of the most significant advances in cancer research over the past several decades.
The results are certainly remarkable. While the new treatment, which consists of a single injection, has only been tested on three leukemia patients so far, researchers say the results exceeded their wildest expectations, according to a report from MSNBC.
Two of the patients treated in the preliminary test, both of which had chroniclymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of leukemia, had the cancer completely removed after just one shot. The other patient, also with CLL, had their leukemia reduced by 70 percent.
“In the Penn experiment, the researchers removed certain types of white blood cells that the body uses to fight disease from the patients. Using a modified, harmless version of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, they inserted a series of genes into the white blood cells. These were designed to make to cells target and kill the cancer cells. After growing a large batch of the genetically engineered white blood cells, the doctors injected them back into the patients.”
The Penn researchers were only able to get enough funding for three tests of the new cancer treatment, but with the remarkable results from those three tests the team will surely have no problems getting additional funding for even more tests.
As MSNBC points out in their report, it should be noted that, while exciting, only three patients have been tested with the new treatment, so there’s still quite a bit of research required to determine how effective the treatment really is.
For now, though, things are looking promising.