Florida woman Judy Perkins had been given a terminal diagnosis and only a few months to live.
Her body was riddled with large tumors from the breast cancer, and there was no hope of treatment. Then her luck swiftly turned as she was chosen to receive a highly experimental therapy that utilized her own white blood cells to combat her disease.
The procedure involves studying the tumors’ genetic makeup to determine points when a person’s immune system may actually be able to identify it. Due to the limited white blood cells, the body possesses while fighting the tumor, white blood cells from the patient are removed and then replicated in a lab. The 90 billion strong army of cells is then sent back into the body in addition to medication that boosts the immune response.
Judy herself felt a difference within a week of her treatment. A few weeks later, her medical team was delighted to report that it was indeed removing the cancer from all over her body. She has reached a point now where her diagnosis is no longer considered terminal.
Many will wonder when this miracle treatment will be available to all, with so many cancer diagnoses and lives lost to date already. Unfortunately, the treatment is still experimental and is not sufficiently tested.
Dr. Steven Rosenberg of the National Cancer Institute warns that this incredible result has only occurred with this patient and with these kinds of treatments they usually find that it only proves effective with a minority of people. It still requires extensive testing, including using the therapy on many more people to have a real indication of how effective it is.
“There’s a huge amount of work that needs to be done, but potentially it could open up a whole new area of therapy for a large number of people.”
Despite this, it has provided new hope for cancer sufferers due to its swift reversal of Judy’s diagnosis. The drug would personalize cancer therapy as it a little different each time for each person due to its development being based on an individual’s genetic makeup.
The details were published in journal Nature Medicine.