Saturday, 07 October 2017 00:00

T-Cell Therapy Could Be Key to Battling Cancer

In late August, the FDA approved tisagenlecleucel for treatment in relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The approval was specific to children and young adults, but it’s considered an important first step in the eventual use of this type of therapy in other cancer incidents.

Also known as CAR T-Cell therapy, this treatment involves removing T cells from a patient and genetically modifying them so that when re-implanted, they attack B cells. The treatment attacks all B cells, not just the cancerous ones, but it is an improvement over traditional therapy for this type of leukemia. Currently, patients with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia undergo some combination of radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or a stem cell transplant, with long-term success rates extremely poor.

Published in Our Blog
Friday, 29 September 2017 00:00

Zika Virus Could Treat Brain Cancer

Until recently, the medical community has only seen the Zika virus as something to fear. Transmitted through mosquito bites and intercourse, the disease has affected people across the globe since it was first identified in 1947. In addition to risk of illness and death, it also puts pregnant women in danger, causing fetal birth defects like microcephaly.

But new research shows that Zika could actually save lives. A team from the University of California, San Diego found that the virus kills brain cancer cells without affecting the normal brain cells around them.

Published in Our Blog

As hard as scientists have worked to find a cure for cancer, the latest discovery may be the most original way yet. Elephant DNA has been found to contain a type of gene that suppresses tumors in humans. The gene, called TP53, prevents cells from multiplying and, as a result, prevents cancer from spreading.

When the gene was activated in mice, scientists found mice have the same protection from cancer as elephants, who rarely get cancer. Only 4.8 percent of known elephant deaths have been connected to cancer. In humans, those numbers are closer to 11 to 25 percent.

During the study, a team extracted white blood cells from elephants and damaged them. The team found that in addition to preventing the spread of cancer, elephants also have a built-in mechanism that detects and kills bad cells before they can wreak damage on the body.

Published in Our Blog
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