An anonymous reader writes "Using a patient's own modified white blood cells, a team of researchers at the National Cancer Institute has reversed advanced melanoma in a study of 17 patients. The researchers tweaked the blood to recognize and attack cancer cells, and the head of the National Institutes of Health, Elias Zerhounibut, says there's big hope now that other common cancers, like breast and lung cancer, can be similarly treated. Though only 2 of the 17 patients responded successfully to the treatment, researchers are optimistic that future improvements on the technique will improve that rate of success." From the article: "In the study, Rosenberg and his colleagues took lymphocytes from the blood and inserted into them genes for a receptor capable of 'recognizing' a protein on melanoma cells called MART-1. This would allow the lymphocyte to attach to a tumor cell and kill it. The patients, all of whom had previously undergone surgery and immune-based treatments, got chemotherapy to temporarily wipe out their immune systems. The engineered cells were then reinjected, with the hope they would proliferate as the immune system recovered."
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