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T-Cell Therapy Claims Unparalleled Success in ALL Study

Update Date: Feb 17, 2016 08:10 AM EST

Cancer fighters are hailing new immunotherapy research and calling it the cure to a disease that kills several millions worldwide every year.

Scientists working with T-cells, a type of white blood cells that constitute the body's immunity, have reported unparalleled cure rates in treating advance-stage blood cancers. They claim that genetically modified T-cells are able to fight the disease who were given only months to live.

According to The Guardian, the therapy involves selecting white blood cells for 'tweaking'. Genetically modified sensor cells are attached to them to seek and destroy cancer cells. The tweaked T-cells are then injected into the body to proliferate and mount an immune response to cancer. The therapy has shown astounding results in treating Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and other blood cancers including lymphomas.

The ALL study presented at American Association for Advancement of Science, claimed that 94 % participants had no symptoms after treatment.

"This is unprecedented in medicine to be honest, to get response rates in this range in these very advanced patients," said the study's lead scientist Stanley Riddell, according to The Independent.

While the study has generated optimism, some are guarded. Muiris Houston wrote in The Irish Times that the trial was not blinded and no comparisons were made with standard treatments. Additionally, a need to analyze the side-effects of T-cell therapy was pointed out. Some of the participants in the study's trial reported fever and low blood pressure while two deaths were also reported. Another major concern with T-cell therapy is an abundance of defense, also called cytokine release syndrome.

The AAAS study was restricted to treating blood cancers as the treatment's efficacy in treating solid malignancies is yet to be tested.

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