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Experimental immune treatment saves dying breast cancer patient

FordGT90Concept

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It's a beginning. Too bad it requires sequencing with targeted approach. Which means it'll be expensive and time consuming to even start doing it.
 

FordGT90Concept

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If they happen upon a route that results in 90%+ success rate (versus the abysmal 15% now), I imagine they could find ways to automate the process.
 
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If they happen upon a route that results in 90%+ success rate (versus the abysmal 15% now), I imagine they could find ways to automate the process.
The biggest problem with this experiment (because it's definitely not a treatment) is that with a sample size of one, there's no way to correlate cause and effect positively. In fact, the correlation here is a negative one: 15% of people who participated survived and recovered, while 85% died! Since cancer survival rates in general are better than 15%, this would, to an uninformed observer, seem to suggest that this "treatment" is more fatal than cancer. Yes, I am being facetious, but unless it's possible to isolate WHY this worked for one person and failed for others, we haven't really got any closer to eradicating cancer.

Don't get me wrong, genetically-targeted cancer therapy does appear to be the most promising route of treatment so far and should definitely be pursued further, but my fear is that cancer's massive genetic variations, and rapid rate of mutation, are going to be enough to render any gene-targeting impotent the majority of the time (I'm guessing this is what happened to the patients who didn't survive). Nanobots, on the other hand, could be programmed to detect and destroy cells that behave in a cancerous manner, which means genetic variation would be irrelevant and any cancer could be cured (potentially even before you're aware you were suffering from it).

Regardless, congratulations to Judy Perkins and Doctor Steven Rosenberg. Any life saved from cancer is a victory for science and humankind.
 

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Cancer is one of the most horrible diseases out there and I've lost several very good friends to it now. :mad: Glad this has worked for her. :rockout:
 

FordGT90Concept

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The biggest problem with this experiment (because it's definitely not a treatment) is that with a sample size of one, there's no way to correlate cause and effect positively. In fact, the correlation here is a negative one: 15% of people who participated survived and recovered, while 85% died! Since cancer survival rates in general are better than 15%, this would, to an uninformed observer, seem to suggest that this "treatment" is more fatal than cancer. Yes, I am being facetious, but unless it's possible to isolate WHY this worked for one person and failed for others, we haven't really got any closer to eradicating cancer.
I think there's only one case where the treatment definitely killed the person. In all other cases (and the survivor's case too), the cancer was terminal. It's possible that, in the majority of cases, treatment was given too late--cancer already won the war.

Don't get me wrong, genetically-targeted cancer therapy does appear to be the most promising route of treatment so far and should definitely be pursued further, but my fear is that cancer's massive genetic variations, and rapid rate of mutation, are going to be enough to render any gene-targeting impotent the majority of the time (I'm guessing this is what happened to the patients who didn't survive).
That's what this treatment does though: they find white cells that search and destroy the mutations that resulted in cancer. I think the problem stems from selecting the correct white cells. Some of those white cells may be targeting a symptom rather than the bad DNA. Injecting more of them won't accomplish anything. In the survivor's case, they targeted four DNA sequences and it worked.

Nanobots, on the other hand, could be programmed to detect and destroy cells that behave in a cancerous manner, which means genetic variation would be irrelevant and any cancer could be cured (potentially even before you're aware you were suffering from it).
Nanobots are science fiction for the foreseeable future.
 
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It's a beginning. Too bad it requires sequencing with targeted approach. Which means it'll be expensive and time consuming to even start doing it.

No, illumina based NGS are a lot cheaper now. The difficult part is the analysis of the sequenced data. Usually takes several postdoc plus PhD students to take a case of this scale. Sad thing is there are very few cancer biologists that are also good at large scale DNA sequencing analysis. With the current benefits of getting a PhD in these fields i see little progress in the near future. Basically a lot of molecular genetists PhD candidates are treated as slave labor. Extremely low salary for an insane amount of work. Only people who truly love it would do it.
 
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I think there's only one case where the treatment definitely killed the person. In all other cases (and the survivor's case too), the cancer was terminal. It's possible that, in the majority of cases, treatment was given too late--cancer already won the war.
That does make sense... something this experimental would never be approved for use in the normal population, so they haven't had a chance to test it on people with less advanced cancer. But now they have a positive result, hopefully they will be able to expedite the process to get it to more people - patients will definitely ask about it.

That's what this treatment does though: they find white cells that search and destroy the mutations that resulted in cancer. I think the problem stems from selecting the correct white cells. Some of those white cells may be targeting a symptom rather than the bad DNA. Injecting more of them won't accomplish anything. In the survivor's case, they targeted four DNA sequences and it worked.
Isn't that the thing that kills most people, though? The fact that the cancer cells mutate faster than the body's defences can adapt to it? If that's the case then adding more white blood cells, that aren't aware of the newest mutations, is a futile effort.

Nanobots are science fiction for the foreseeable future.
I can dream and hope, though. Dream and hope that one day more money will be spent on medicine than on war.
 
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Since cancer survival rates in general are better than 15%
In general. People taking part in this study are already terminal unless I misread. They had a nearly 100% chance of dying.
 

FordGT90Concept

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That does make sense... something this experimental would never be approved for use in the normal population, so they haven't had a chance to test it on people with less advanced cancer. But now they have a positive result, hopefully they will be able to expedite the process to get it to more people - patients will definitely ask about it.
If they were able to get 90% success rate among those with terminal cancer then they'd probably use this therapy in the first stages of aggressive cancer. All they really need is one tumor to biopsy. People wouldn't need chemo anymore so they remain healthy throughout the cancer treatment. Better outcomes all around...if they can attain that kind of success rate.


Isn't that the thing that kills most people, though? The fact that the cancer cells mutate faster than the body's defences can adapt to it? If that's the case then adding more white blood cells, that aren't aware of the newest mutations, is a futile effort.
The body fails to recognize the threat because it's not foreign. The few cells that do recognize it as a threat and try to do something about it, the rest of the lymphatic system is "meh" to the fact they're doing their job. Ehm:
foreign object -> white cell identifies it -> lymphatic system produces an army of white cells -> white cells murder foreign object
non-malignant cellular damage -> white cell identifies it -> white cell murders it -> white cell tries to find another (no massive assault)
malignant cellular damage -> white cell identifies -> white cell murders -> the cancerous cells reproduce faster than the white cells can murder it -> cancer becomes terminal

What these scientists are doing is what the body fails to do because the body doesn't realize the severity of the mutation. Chemo can fail because it kills the white cells that acknowledge the mutation, the cancerous tissue, and the healthy tissue around it.

And you're right: if they mass produced the wrong white cells, the cancer will continue to propagate unimpeded.
 
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