The BBC makes sure to say that this is a very narrowly targeted cure that wouldn't work for most cancers. But cancers generally appear to be very idiosyncratic, and real cures are likely going to have to be quite individual, just as this one is. This doesn't go with the drug industry's one-size-fits-all profit model, but it does seem to be the right direction for curing the disease."
The 52-year-old man had advanced melanoma which had spread to the lungs and lymph nodes. Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle concentrated on a type of white blood cell called a CD4+ T cell. From a sample of the man's white blood cells, they were able to select CD4+ T cells which had been specifically primed to attack a chemical found on the surface of melanoma cells. These were then multiplied in the laboratory, and put back in their billions to see if they could mount an effective attack on the tumours. Two months later, scans showed the tumours had disappeared, and after two years, the man remained disease-free.