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A new gene altering cancer treatment gives hope

15-07-2017 08:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream

A new gene altering cancer treatment gives hope | My Indian Dream

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Patient’s own cells to fight cancer

A new method to fight cancer has raised hopes of cancer patients as a US Food and Drug Administration panel unanimously recommended that the agency approves a new form of treatment in which the patient’s own cells are genetically altered to fight cancer.

This will open a new era in medicine where a person’s cells are transformed into ‘a living drug’ that powers the immune system to knock out the disease.

FDA is likely to accept the recommendation which will make the treatment the first gene therapy to reach the market. For decades researchers and drug companies have been competing to reach this milestone.

This technique calls for a unique treatment for each patient. Their cells are removed at an approved medical centre, frozen, shipped to a centre for gene alteration, frozen and shipped back to the treatment centre.

Studies have shown that a single dose of the resulting product has resulted in long remissions and even cures, to many patients who had lost all hopes of survival as other forms of treatment had failed.

Emily Whitehead is one such patient who at the age of six was the first child to be administered the altered cells. The treatment saved her life and she is now twelve years old. She was present at the meeting of the panel with her parents to advocate the approval of the drug.

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