Cancer treatment: Immune system therapy showing promise

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Cancer treatment: Immune system therapy showing promise

A treatment that helps the immune system fight deadly blood cancers is showing early signs of promise against some solid tumors.

 A treatment that helps the immune system fight deadly blood cancers is showing early signs of promise against some solid tumors, giving hope that this approach might be extended to more common cancers in the future.

The treatment, called CAR-T therapy, involves genetically modifying some of a patient’s own cells to help them recognize and attack cancer. Richard Carlstrand of Long Key, Florida, had it more than a year ago for mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer of the lining of the lungs.

“We were going into unknown territories” to try this, he said, but now he shows no sign of cancer and “I couldn’t be happier.”

Results on his and other cases were discussed Sunday at an American Association for Cancer Research conference in Atlanta.

The first CAR-T therapies were approved in 2017 for some leukemias and lymphomas. After being altered in the lab, the modified immune system cells are returned to the patient through an IV, which puts them right where the cancer is — in the blood.

But that approach doesn’t work well if the cells have to travel far through the bloodstream to get to tumors in the lung, breast, colon, or other places.

Read on: Cancer treatment: Immune system therapy showing promise

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