An experimental method for treating advanced leukemia could also create important new treatment options for multiple myeloma.
“It is very exciting,” said myeloma specialist Dr. Leif Bergsagel from the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “I think this approach could and should be extended to multiple myeloma.” He did however say that “It will be several years before myeloma patients will be treated this way.”
Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania released the initial results of a pilot study they are conducting. They apply to three men with very advanced cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). They all received an experimental stem cell application that used genetically modified immune cells taken from their own bodies to attack the cancer cells.
Two of the men taking part had excellent responses and continued to be free of any signs of cancer 10 months after treatment. The other patient had a partial response that lasted at least eight months.
The Pennsylvania researchers intend to treat more patients with longer follow-up times and say they would like to expand their study and include other cancer types.
Donor stem cell transplantation is the only possible cure for CLL at the moment
The authors of the study suggested that their new cutting edge approach could cure leukemia patients just like donor stem cell transplantation, but in a much safer way.
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