Leukemia Cells Can Be Killed By Immune System Manipulation, Doctors Demonstrate
Leukemia cells can be killed off by training a person’s immune system with the use of gene therapy, University of Pennsylvania doctors have demonstrated.
Doctors gutted and reconstructed a disabled form of HIV-1 by selecting DNA from humans, mice and cows, a virus that infects woodchucks, and one that infects cows.
The virus infects T-cells, a white blood cell that fights viruses and tumors, and alters the T-cells to reproduce chimeric antigen receptors, The New York Times reports.
Chimeric antigen receptors, also known as CARS, are protein complexes that transform the cells into “serial killers.”
The T-cells recognize cancer, attack it, multiply, and continue to live on after the eradication of the cancer, patrolling the body to defend against remission.
Doctors first tried the experimental treatment on William Ludwig, then a 65-year-old retired corrections officer from Bridgeton, NJ., reports The NY Times.
Researchers passed Ludwig’s blood through a machine that removed about a billion T-cells before putting the blood back into his veins.
The removed T-cells were introduced to the HIV virus, which infected and genetically transformed Ludwig’s T-cells, and then frozen temporarily.
After chemotherapy to deplete any remaining T-cells that may have impeded the growth of the altered ones, the new T-cells were infused back into Ludwig’s blood.