ITK: Killing Cancer Like the Common Cold

Killing Cancer Like the Common Cold

By Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent
December 7, 2013 — Updated 1508 GMT (2308 HKT)
Source: CNN
Ripe Bananas & Anti-Cancer Quality

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nick Wilkins was out of options for battling leukemia
  • He is now cancer free after an experimental treatment
  • Doctors taught Nick’s immune cells to become adept at killing cancer
  • Experts hope the treatment will quickly become more widely available

(CNN) — Nick Wilkins was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 4 years old, and when the cancer kept bouncing back, impervious to all the different treatments the doctors tried, his father sat him down for a talk.

John Wilkins explained to Nick, who was by then 14, that doctors had tried chemotherapy, radiation, even a bone marrow transplant from his sister.

“I explained to him that we’re running out of options,” Wilkins remembers telling his son.

There was one possible treatment they could try: an experimental therapy at the University of Pennsylvania.

He asked his son if he understood what it would mean if this treatment didn’t work.

“He understood he could die,” Wilkins says. “He was very stoic.”

A few months later, Nick traveled from his home in Virginia to Philadelphia to become a part of the experiment.

This new therapy was decidedly different from the treatments he’d received before: Instead of attacking his cancer with poisons like chemotherapy and radiation, the Philadelphia doctors taught Nick’s own immune cells to become more adept at killing the cancer.

Two months later, he emerged cancer-free. It’s been six months since Nick, now 15, received the personalized cell therapy, and doctors still can find no trace of leukemia in his system.

Trusting her intuition led to two cancer diagnoses

Twenty-one other young people received the same treatment, and 18 of them, like Nick, went into complete remission — one of them has been disease-free for 20 months. The Penn doctors released their findings this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

“It gives us hope that this is a cure,” Nick’s father says. “They’re really close. I think they’re really onto something.”  (READ FULL ARTICLE)

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