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Science Forum

  1. 08 Dec '13 10:19 / 2 edits
    This looks just fantastic!

    http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-12-gene-therapy-scores-big-blood.html

    "....
    at least six research groups have treated more than 120 patients with many types of blood and bone marrow cancers, with stunning results.
    ....
    In one study, all five adults and 19 of 22 children with acute lymphocytic leukemia, or ALL, had a complete remission, meaning no cancer could be found after treatment, although a few have relapsed since then.
    ..."

    I just cannot help but wonder, would this be greatly improved on and also adapted to ALL types of cancer, not just blood and bone types, and will lead to effective gene-therapy-based cures for ALL types of cancers just within, say, the next ten years!? -I sure hope I am not being wildly optimistic here! We have so often heard of promise of fantastic cancer cures in the past only to find totally depressing disappointment -but perhaps this time it is different?
  2. 08 Dec '13 11:01
    What exactly are the cells used and how have they been modified? Which gene (s) have been added and how were the transgenes introduced?
  3. 08 Dec '13 11:36 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by twohybrid
    What exactly are the cells used and how have they been modified? Which gene (s) have been added and how were the transgenes introduced?
    The link doesn't say exactly which gene is involved but, to answer your other question, it does say:

    "...The treatment involves filtering patients' blood to remove millions of white blood cells called T-cells, altering them in the lab to contain a gene that targets cancer, and returning them to the patient in infusions over three days.
    ..."
  4. 08 Dec '13 11:46
    Originally posted by humy
    The link doesn't say exactly which gene is involved but, to answer your other question, it does say:

    "...The treatment involves filtering patients' blood to remove millions of [b]white blood cells
    called T-cells, altering them in the lab to contain a gene that targets cancer, and returning them to the patient in infusions over three days.
    ..."[/b]
    I'll have to try and find the original publications. At a guess I would say the lymphocytes were infected with a modified retrovirus carrying the transgene. I doubt the transgene is a suicide gene since that would not be specific enough.
  5. 08 Dec '13 19:44 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by twohybrid
    I'll have to try and find the original publications. At a guess I would say the lymphocytes were infected with a modified retrovirus carrying the transgene. I doubt the transgene is a suicide gene since that would not be specific enough.
    I don't see how it could possibly make any sense for it to be a suicide gene anyway since a suicide gene would be no use at all here for it was introduced into the white blood cells to attack cancer cells and thus we don't want those modified white blood cells to commit suicide!

    I assume the gene introduced into the white blood cells works by somehow making them 'recognize' the cancer cells as cells that are diseased and therefore cells that should be destroyed and therefore causes those white blood cells to destroy them when those same white blood cells would otherwise normally simply ignore the cancer cells without that gene. After all, the link says:

    "You can take a cell that belongs to a patient and engineer it to be an attack cell."
  6. 20 Dec '13 19:30 / 1 edit
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-12-cancer-defense-mechanisms.html

    this time it isn't gene therapy but it does indirectly use white blood cells against cancer.