Setting the Body’s ‘Serial Killers’ Loose on Cancer

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Setting the Body’s ‘Serial Killers’ Loose on Cancer

Cell therapy to boost the immune system might fight cancer.

The young surgeon was mystified. A fist-size tumor had been removed from the stomach of his patient 12 years earlier, but his doctors had not been able to cut out many smaller growths in his liver. The cancer should have killed him, yet here he lay on the table for a routine gallbladder operation.

The surgeon, Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, examined the man’s abdominal cavity, sifting his liver in his fingers, feeling for hard, dense tumors — but he could find no trace of cancer.

It was 1968. Dr. Rosenberg had a hunch he had just witnessed an extraordinary case in which a patient’s immune system had vanquished cancer. Hoping there was an elixir in the man’s blood, Dr. Rosenberg got permission to transfuse some of it into a patient dying of stomach cancer. The effort failed. But it was the beginning of a lifelong quest.

“Something began to burn in me,” he would write later, “something that has never gone out.”

Half a century later, Dr. Rosenberg, who turns 76 on Tuesday and is chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute here, is part of a small fraternity of researchers who have doggedly pursued a dream — turbocharging the body’s immune system so that more cancer patients can experience recoveries like his long-ago patient’s.

Read Full Article: Setting the Body’s ‘Serial Killers’ Loose on Cancer – The New York Times

Read Full Article: Setting the Body’s ‘Serial Killers’ Loose on Cancer – The New York Times

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