A new leukemia treatment is wowing even the researchers behind its creation, providing results beyond their wildest expectations.
The treatment uses the body’s own t-cells to fight the tumors. The t-cells are removed from the body and then reprogrammed to attack the specific type of cancer cells, and ONLY THEM, and then reinserted into the body.
Pharmaceutical companies did not want to fund this research, probably as it was not a half-bad drug that could be patented and sold, but a genetic therapy that was envisioned at a university.
Update: In August of 2012 (One year after this blog post was first written), Novartis and the University of Pennsylvania announced a global research and a licensing agreement that gives Novartis exclusive licensing rights to the technology worldwide. Novartis is also contributing $20 million to build a Center for Advanced Cellular Therapies on the University of Pennsylvania campus that aims to develop and manufacture adoptive T-cell immunotherapies such as the CAR technology. – Well well, whadda ya now. Novartis saw a business opportunity after all…
In any case, extremely good news and it should work for other forms of cancer as well, if i have my microbiology correct, corroborated by the following statement:
Additionally, the team has engineered a CAR vector that binds to mesothelin, a protein expressed on the surface of mesothelioma cancer cells, as well as on ovarian and pancreatic cancer cells.
New method uses body’s own t-cells to kill cancer cells, and only those cells.
Here is some news on this: