A woman who was in the advanced stage of breast cancer which had infected her body has been entirely removed of the disease by a revolutionary procedure that captures the power of the patient's immune system to deal with the cancerous cells. "The impact is tremendous" remarks study leader Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in NY.
"Oncologists have been getting much smarter about dialing back treatment so that it doesn't do more harm than good", said Steven Katz, a University of MI researcher who examines medical decision-making.
The new approach - a modified version of a technique known as adoptive cell transfer (ACT) - is being developed by researchers at the National Cancer Institute in the United States, and involves sequencing the DNA and RNA of tumours to try to identify mutations that were unique to her specific cancer. The latest results were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
A new Indiana University School of Medicine research center will focus on aggressive and hard-to-treat breast cancers. A score of 26 and above was considered high risk, and those women received both chemotherapy and hormonal treatment.
Women aged 50 or younger were the notable exception.
84 percent were alive without signs of cancer, so adding chemo made no difference. Such patients have been in "the gray zone, and we haven't known what to tell them", Kurian said.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in the USA and worldwide.
"Our study shows that chemotherapy may be avoided in about 70 percent of these women when its use is guided by the test, thus limiting chemotherapy to the 30 percent of women we can predict will benefit from it", lead author Dr. Joseph Sparano said, via The Independent. The money was used to pay for the gene test, which costs more than $4,000 per person. NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.
"The idea is to see if we can increase the white blood cells reaction to the tumor then the chemotherapy would work that much better", Dr. Bear explained. She also watched her brother and sister - who died of thyroid cancer and leukemia, respectively - suffer through chemotherapy treatments.
"I think it's been well spent", Singer said of the stamp proceeds.
"All cancers have mutations, and that's what we're attacking with this immunotherapy", he said.
Staff writer Elizabeth Fite contributed to this story. More than 10,000 women enrolled in the clinical study.
"I was a little relieved". "You want to bring the right amount of treatment to the tumor based on its biology", he said.
Melinda Bachini, a former paramedic who lives in Billings, Montana, believes the treatment saved her life.