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Training an Immune System To Kill Cancer

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the while-humming-eye-of-the-tiger dept.

Biotech 209

NotSanguine sends in a story about William Ludwig, a 65-year-old leukemia patient who underwent a new, experimental treatment that draws upon two decades of advances in molecular biology. Quoting: "Doctors removed a billion of his T-cells — a type of white blood cell that fights viruses and tumors — and gave them new genes that would program the cells to attack his cancer. Then the altered cells were dripped back into Mr. Ludwig’s veins. At first, nothing happened. But after 10 days, hell broke loose in his hospital room. He began shaking with chills. His temperature shot up. His blood pressure shot down. He became so ill that doctors moved him into intensive care and warned that he might die. His family gathered at the hospital, fearing the worst. A few weeks later, the fevers were gone. And so was the leukemia. ... In essence, the team is using gene therapy to accomplish something that researchers have hoped to do for decades: train a person's own immune system to kill cancer cells."

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if only they could do this with my hormones (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394060)

then maybe they could train my body to grow a BIG BLACK COCK!!!!

very cool but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394066)

The study was only 10 people. I REALLY hope that they continue this. Note that the guy was refused funding by major cancer research groups previously. I hope this changes this.

( DNRTFA... couldn't get passed the paywall )

Okay, what about prevention? (3, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 3 years ago | (#37394482)

Any chance of using this technique in a preventative way? I mean, could you give an inoculation to train your body to fight off the cancer when it first starts? Not an MD by any stretch.

Re:Okay, what about prevention? (1)

RatPh!nk (216977) | about 3 years ago | (#37394514)

You could, but you would need to know which errant protein would be on the cell surface to attack.

Re:Okay, what about prevention? (2)

Chas (5144) | about 3 years ago | (#37394550)

That probably wouldn't be a good idea.

The way the treatment works is by killing off most of your healthy T-cells. Then replacing them with the altered ones.

This leaves you open to infection pretty much forevermore.

Right now the treatment is kind of a russian roulette game. Things like kidney failure (due to being clogged with the byproducts of killed cancer) is no joke.

What they've got to do after they verify the results with further trials is find a way to control the reaction a bit more. Maybe lower dosages of altered T-Cell so the effect is more gradual.

A cure, or at least a VERY efficacious treatment for cancer doesn't do you much good if it kills you while trying to cure you.

Still, damned impressive. If this can be duplicated and controlled a bit better, these researchers should go up for a Nobel. And a few tens or hundreds of million in additional funding.

Re:Okay, what about prevention? (3, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 3 years ago | (#37394610)

Maybe I am oversimplifying as I am not trained in this area... but I got that most of the side effects were due to how much cancer had taken over the body... two pounds of waste in one article I read. If you used a variant of this technique earlier, I was thinking that it might not be such a traumatic experience.

Re:Okay, what about prevention? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37394676)

Already in effect.

Multicellular organisms generally, humans not excepted, have a whole bunch of mechanisms to terminate abberant cells. Some are internal to the cell, conditions that trigger cellular suicide, and some involve the immune system coming in for the kill.

What we call "cancer" are the abberant cells that manage to overcome the internal defenses and multiply their way to clinical significance.

Interesting (1)

Jimmyisikura (1274808) | about 3 years ago | (#37394078)

While I think this is awesome, isn't this how I Am Legend happened?

Re:Interesting (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 3 years ago | (#37394118)

umm I Am Legend was a fictional work by Richard Matheson, in case you weren't aware.

Re:Interesting (1)

Jimmyisikura (1274808) | about 3 years ago | (#37394160)

I was referring to the story startup, I didn't think it was an actual event haha.

Re:Interesting (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 3 years ago | (#37394274)

ah well I wasn't sure from the wording and I've seen people believe stranger things were fact as opposed to fiction.

Re:Interesting (4, Funny)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37394378)

The evidence for I am Legend is better than for the American Revolution, after all, they have actual video for I am Legend, but not for the American Revolution. So really, believe what you want, but I prefer things I can see.

Re:Interesting (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#37394432)

The evidence for I am Legend is better than for the American Revolution, after all, they have actual video for I am Legend, but not for the American Revolution. So really, believe what you want, but I prefer things I can see.

Well there are paintings, drawings, engravings, etc of revolutionary events. You can see those too. :-)

Re:Interesting (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394126)

Probably...

of course if we don't die from cancer then we still have to deal with aliens coming down to conquer us like independence day.

At least we know we can infect their technology with a wi-fi laptop running mac-os. Thanks will smith!

Re:Interesting (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 3 years ago | (#37394140)

No, for one, I Am Legand never happened. Two: the disease in I Am Legend was a bacillus stirred up into the air by dust storms, not some human experiment.

Re:Interesting (1)

kylemonger (686302) | about 3 years ago | (#37394188)

Nope. It was bacteria in the awful novel, a gengineered virus in the Will Smith movie.

These T-cells shouldn't be a threat to you unless you, in a fit of stupidity, injected yourself with them. Or through a medical error the doctor somehow injected you with someone else's T-cells. Oops.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394284)

Even that wouldn't be too much of a threat. You would get a moderate fever, maybe some chills (a mild version of what happened in the story, except with a lot less foreign cells to kill), then you'd be fine. Might need a few-day hospital stay for monitoring, but likely nothing more.

Re:Interesting (1)

Columcille (88542) | about 3 years ago | (#37394384)

No, but Resident Evil uses the t-virus.

Seems more comparable to inoculations (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#37394412)

While I think this is awesome, isn't this how I Am Legend happened?

Whatever happened in the movie was fanciful hand waving. This seems more comparable to inoculations. Fluids are introduced to the body, the body learns how to defend itself. Of course this high level perspective is about where the similarity ends.

No, this is Homeopathic in application. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394662)

By making your Immune System aware of pathogens, then your body will happily produce antigens that lead white blood cells to attack and escort that foreign matter out of your body. This is the essence of Homeopathy, the origins of Pharmaceutical companies, but uses Gene therapy to supplant cancer Identification code into the Immune System rather than actually training the Immune System.

Yes, the difference between Innoculations and Vaccinations is starting to come into focus, whereas the injections that are being labeled as Vaccines are nothing more than Innoculating yourself with a version of the virus that is weaker so that your primitive Immune System could train to identify that strain and then slowly expect your body to retrain small cultures of that virus to mutate into a pathway of natural selection for your Immune System to follow it towards comprehending and removing the cancer that it couldn't have identified before.
Only, rather than actually innoculate with a lower virus, these gene therapists just rewrote the Immune System. If you have wondered for yourself why I used the words "cancer" and "virus" interchangably, then you'll know that cancer is a fungus and a virus is nothing more than the invasive attack function of a fungus entering your body and that only reason why that cancer clumps together into tumors is because it is localising around the acidosis of a region where a heavy metal deposit has restricted oxygen.

If you ask me, something stinks of a politician wanting to sneak other code into that DNA and that's why shit like this doesn't fly in my book. Could have trained the Immune System properly like parading a bunch of hippies and degenerates down the road so everybody would know what to look for to escort into the trashcan, but instead we get our OS re-written, and that's why this is News for Nerds. I would rather train my Immune System by drinking small samples of urine from cancer patients so-to recover some of the antigen that their Immune System had built to remove their cancer, and then my Immune System will create anti-bodies from the antigen I assimilated.

Re:Interesting (2)

PPH (736903) | about 3 years ago | (#37394442)

I Am Legend is complete fiction.

Slashdotters would never come out into the sunlight, no matter what.

Re:Interesting (1)

garaged (579941) | about 3 years ago | (#37394494)

Or stop generalizing, for that matters

Now this is what I'd call (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 3 years ago | (#37394080)

WICKED COOL!!!

Re:Now this is what I'd call (1)

linatux (63153) | about 3 years ago | (#37394226)

apart from a few weeks of fevers!!!

Re:Now this is what I'd call (1)

g6mrfixit (2022564) | about 3 years ago | (#37394484)

Better a few weeks of fevers than a forever of dead.

Re:Now this is what I'd call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394512)

You misunderstand. You still get the forever of dead.

Re:Now this is what I'd call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394518)

Don't worry that will happen in time.

Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394082)

That sounds like a proper crazy immune response. Even if he had died, I'd be surprised if his cancer didn't go down at least.

Go go science.

Is there a drug? (1, Flamebait)

mrquagmire (2326560) | about 3 years ago | (#37394092)

Is there a drug that requires a prescription or some sort of long term "treatment" that goes along with this procedure? If not, then it probably won't catch on in our wonderful privatized health care system, sadly.

Re:Is there a drug? (3, Interesting)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 3 years ago | (#37394134)

Not yet, but if it's possible to reprogram white blood cells via retroviruses, then perhaps someday it will be as simple as doing a plasma collection and then a few days later having the cells re-infused.

Re:Is there a drug? (3, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 years ago | (#37394268)

Not yet, but if it's possible to reprogram white blood cells via retroviruses, then perhaps someday it will be as simple as doing a plasma collection and then a few days later having the cells re-infused.

I am currently a candidate for an experimental treatment that does just that - plasma collection at start, then they convince the white blood cells to reproduce like mad, then put them back into me at weekly intervals.

Hopefully, my turn to play guinea pig for this one will come up this next month.

Re:Is there a drug? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 3 years ago | (#37394362)

I wish you luck. There are so many possibilities for this, but also risks.

Re:Is there a drug? (1)

Guppy (12314) | about 3 years ago | (#37394658)

I am currently a candidate for an experimental treatment that does just that - plasma collection at start, then they convince the white blood cells to reproduce like mad, then put them back into me at weekly intervals.

I've heard of some trials of autologous immune therapies that were going on -- Dendreon (Prostate), Genesis/Lonza (Melanoma), and Sloan-Kettering Memorial (Ovarian & Leukemia) were supposedly doing some. Any chance you're in one of these?

Re:Is there a drug? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37394934)

Selfish as I may sound, it would be great to hear your tale once the experiment is over - say, as a Slashdot story *wink wink*.

Re:Is there a drug? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37394178)

Is there a drug that requires a prescription or some sort of long term "treatment" that goes along with this procedure? If not, then it probably won't catch on in our wonderful privatized health care system, sadly.

Really? Why? If you had a single dose, effective treatment for a fatal cancer, just how high do you think you could jack up the cost? People are already paying 100,000 a year for drugs that only prolong life by months. A 'cure' could be worth a million, easy. In the cold hearted world of the Medical Industrial Complex, you can bet your spreadsheet that they've already figured out exactly how much they would charge and how much they could make.

No, it's not going to be cheap - these sorts of treatments are custom builds and there is a lot of fiddly tech involved, even after they streamline the process. It probably would not be used on rarer cancers because you would have to do all that work without the possibility of a really big payoff. But all of this talk is rather premature. This is a proof of concept experiment. This lab is the first one to actually get all the pieces together and they admit they're not sure why it works when other similar attempts failed. So there is a lot of work to be done before you can get your doc to write a script for it.

By the time these treatments come out of the lab, we will either be using a different model for health care payments or most of us will be running around the woods looking for willow bark while the 500 billionaires get entire body replacements. Chiba City, anyone?

Re:Is there a drug? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394204)

Actually insurance companies (and you know how they love money....) will decide its merits as an intervention. What is more expensive, spending months or years in and out of the hospital with expensive chemo (which is going through shortages at the moment), or doing this one procedure and a couple weeks in the hospital? If this works, insurance companies may cover it and refuse to pay for chemo if the patient is a candidate for this treatment.

Re:Is there a drug? (3, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 3 years ago | (#37394224)

A killer T cell is an end product cell type. It does not divide. As such introduction of the cells shouldn't cause lasting immunological issues, unless the synthetically activated cells initiate a cascade autoimmune reaction.

(T cells destroy pathogens, but they also pass antigen information on to B cells, which "remember" previous infectious agents, and mass replicate antibodies in the hystamine cycle. This mechanism is how vaccination works. Deactivated virus is introduced, white cells engage, destroy, and then present the debris to B cells, which produce antibodies. When the real virus comes along, the immine system reacts with a flood of antibody production, which greatly inhibits proliferation of the pathogen. In this case, researchers would have to be VERY careful what cellular membrane cues they program their new mutant superhero T cells to go after, or else the body may become sensitized against its own cellular membranes, resulting in runaway autoimmune reactions.)

Assuming that everything goes well, then the modified T cell culture will natually self-terminate like normal T cells do, and then all traces of the manipulation would be gone from the host.

This means that there shouldn't be a need for long term antirejection meds, like with a bone marrow transplant.

Re:Is there a drug? (5, Interesting)

Guppy (12314) | about 3 years ago | (#37394526)

A killer T cell is an end product cell type. It does not divide.

T-cells are differentiated cells, but they most certainly do undergo clonal expansion.

(T cells destroy pathogens, but they also pass antigen information on to B cells, which "remember" previous infectious agents, and mass replicate antibodies in the hystamine cycle. This mechanism is how vaccination works.

Huh? "Histamine Cycle"?

Deactivated virus is introduced, white cells engage, destroy, and then present the debris to B cells, which produce antibodies. When the real virus comes along, the immine system reacts with a flood of antibody production, which greatly inhibits proliferation of the pathogen

This description relates to the humoral branch of the adaptive immune system, but is irrelevant here. The treatment in question primarily operates via a cell-mediated mechanism.

In this case, researchers would have to be VERY careful what cellular membrane cues they program their new mutant superhero T cells to go after, or else the body may become sensitized against its own cellular membranes, resulting in runaway autoimmune reactions.)

Target cue was CD19, a B-cell specific receptor (but not cancer-specific receptor). Hence the patient's ensuing state of hypo-gammaglobulinemia, due to indiscriminant destruction of antibody-producing cells.

Moderators, please refrain from moderation when not sufficiently versed in a field to accurately gauge the value of a post.

Re:Is there a drug? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 3 years ago | (#37394646)

Hey, I thought I was doing good dredging up information I was exposed to more than 20 years ago. (And at midnight, no less.) :)

I did not know T cells underwent mitosis. I thought they were produced as needed by their progenitor cells in the bone marrow, similarly to red cells.

Admittedly, I did not read tfa, (paywall, LONG out of university.) so I did knot read that it directly targets B cells. The issue of runaway autoimmune reactions is still relavent. Indescriminate destruction of B cells is a very bad thing and would make the patient extremely immune suppressed following the initial "thermonuclear" immune response, as the patient's immune system would effectively be given a lobotomy and would forget every pathogen it had encountered, and would remain that way until new B cells are produced.

This treatment could be adapted for other types of cancer besides this flavor of leukemia, just as long as there is a reasonably reliable target for the t cells to go after.

When b cells are not THE target, then their implication in the immune response would be more in line with what I had said earlier.

Sorry about the histamine bit. A quick google refresher points out that it is used to help white cells navigate capillaries. For some reason I erroneously recalled that it triggered b cell activation.

I am not a cellular biologist, and I don't work with this stuff every day, so naturally I will defer to somebody that is/does.

Re:Is there a drug? (3, Insightful)

Guppy (12314) | about 3 years ago | (#37394814)

I did not know T cells underwent mitosis. I thought they were produced as needed by their progenitor cells in the bone marrow, similarly to red cells.

Yes, that's correct, there are T-cell progenitors in the bone marrow that generate new T-cells. However, experienced T-cells are maintained in a population of circulating "memory" cells that persist long-term, and undergo rapid expansion upon encountering their triggering antigen.

Indescriminate destruction of B cells is a very bad thing and would make the patient extremely immune suppressed following the initial "thermonuclear" immune response, as the patient's immune system would effectively be given a lobotomy and would forget every pathogen it had encountered, and would remain that way until new B cells are produced.

Yes, these patients are currently on IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin - antibodies collected and pooled from donors), and will be for a long time, possibly for the rest of their lives. Very expensive.

This treatment could be adapted for other types of cancer besides this flavor of leukemia, just as long as there is a reasonably reliable target for the t cells to go after.

Yes, I believe one of the next targets they are going after with this technique will be mesothelin-expressing tumors (found in certain ovarian/mesothelioma/pancreatic tumors). Will probably be messy, as it is expressed in certain populations of normal mesothelial cells.

Re:Is there a drug? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 3 years ago | (#37394960)

You learn something new everyday. :)

However, if the artificially sensitized T cells programmed to eliminate B cells stick around, the patient would not be able to properly recover. Any freshly produced B cells would be marked for elimination immediately after production.

Perhaps the population could be coaxed into premature senesence (sp? I am tired...) by carefully regulated injections of refined trigger protein? The idea is to get the memory population to spike and exhaust the longevity of the population.

After that the patient could begin to recover.

Re:Is there a drug? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394254)

"they will need periodic infusions of a substance called intravenous immune globulin to protect them."

Re:Is there a drug? (1)

Imrik (148191) | about 3 years ago | (#37394478)

It's not the privatized health care that would be the problem (in this case) but rather the privatized medical research companies. Health care companies would prefer a cure, that way they get to keep the money that you keep paying them rather than give it to someone else. Plus they could probably find a reason to treat you as having a higher risk for other kinds of cancer or other conditions afterwards.

Re:Is there a drug? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37394724)

Only in those cases(which I imagine do come up) where a company's research raises the risk of cannibalizing their current products:

If I don't make chemo drugs, say, I get 0% of Mr. Cancer Patient's medical spending. If I can develop a cure for his particular flavor of cancer, suddenly I capture a substantially greater than zero slice of the pie. Even if the absolute size of the pie shrinks(because my hypothetical single treatment is cheaper than his previous slow demise), my slice is larger. Assuming I can cover my costs, it makes perfect sense for me to go ahead and nuke the other guys' profits in exchange for some of my own. The issues arise if there is excessive consolidation of researching entities...

Re:Is there a drug? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394816)

But that only works if companies are researching treatments for conditions that they don't already treat. I would guess that companies are more likely to work on treatments for problems similar to those they already treat, if only to make better use of existing expertise.

Re:Is there a drug? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37394842)

It's not the privatized health care that would be the problem (in this case) but rather the privatized medical research companies.

No, it's the regulations that massively increase the cost of drugs.

Health care companies would prefer a cure, that way they get to keep the money that you keep paying them rather than give it to someone else.

As I understand it, the health insurance companies like big payouts, because it increases their income and hence their profits. For example, if they were collecting $100 and spending $50 then they'd face a backlash from the government, but by collecting $1000 and spending $950 they get the same amount of profit but can claim their margins are very tight. Or, when the stock market is actually going up, they can invest that $1000 until they have to pay it out and make ten times as much as they would investing $100.

old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394114)

Cool, but not news - I think we've had news of the development posted here already. If not, we're way behind the news curve.

Re:old (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 3 years ago | (#37394164)

Yeah, it's a dupe - but still a good story and encouraging for anyone that has had their lives affected by cancer. Here is the original [slashdot.org] post.

Duplicate (1)

natex84 (706770) | about 3 years ago | (#37394146)

Re:Duplicate (1)

j-beda (85386) | about 3 years ago | (#37394340)

Yeah, but that one had a very poor title, implying that the HIV did the curing, whereas it was really only used to do the reprogramming.

Re:Duplicate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394966)

I like how you use the word "only". It's like saying walking on the moon is so great, but Saturn V only did the lifting. Or how great it is to be able to fly across large distances in a plane, whereas plane builders only do the design and building of these machines...

Genetically modified HIV was *the key* method to modify the immune cells as it is the only virus that does so. Without HIV, modifying immune cells would be significantly more difficult, if outright impossible for our technology. HIV was the enabler that allowed this therapy vector.

The therapy to use genetically modified HIV to modify immune cells to recognize a given protein was ingenious. If this leads to cure of majority of cancers out there, these people deserve a Noble Prize. Same as the peptic ulcer and H. Pelori discovery by Barry Marshall and Robin Warren.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_peptic_ulcer_disease_and_Helicobacter_pylori [wikipedia.org]

They do have a plan for the T-cells after (1)

zoffdino (848658) | about 3 years ago | (#37394148)

It almost killed him, but he would inevitably die with cancer anyway. I think most patients will accept the risk. Now that he has 1 billions modified T-cells, possibly double that now, how do they plan on getting them out, or make the body accept them? Surviving cancer just to die from your own T-cells doesn't sound cool.

Re:They do have a plan for the T-cells after (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 3 years ago | (#37394194)

The body already accepts them - they were his cells, after all. Just like any immune reaction, once the cells "detect" that the threat is no longer present, they'll calm down and go back to the proverbial barracks (lymph nodes) until they're needed again.

Re:They do have a plan for the T-cells after (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394210)

thats what i wanna know too

or are they just going to leave them in?

Re:They do have a plan for the T-cells after (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394238)

His body wasn't attacking the T-cells. The "reaction" was his body's immune system being activated in order to attack the cancer cells, having been signaled by the now-reprogrammed T-cells. It wasn't rejection of those cells. The cells would still be recognized as "self" and as such, could just be left alone.

Re:They do have a plan for the T-cells after (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | about 3 years ago | (#37394346)

Now that he has 1 billions modified T-cells, possibly double that now, how do they plan on getting them out, or make the body accept them?

They gradually diminished on their own as the targets disappeared.

This is a great article in explaining what happened. Something on this was posted a couple of weeks ago and most responses were jokes about getting AIDS to kill cancer. In any event I never did see what the explanation was until now.

On a further note, so I don't have to start a new post and get a rejection that I didn't wait several minutes before posting again, there were several references in TFA about dangers to life from contents of killed cancer cells. I am wondering whether the technique used to filter T-cells from the blood could be used to filter or chemically reduce those toxins in the blood after the injection of modified T-cells until the danger passes.

I see now that this works by identifying a protein on the cell types that became cancerous, in this case B type immune cells, and also difficulty or impossibility of identifying a unique protein for other types of cells. As great as this is, it may only work for this type of cancer because of the unique protein on those type of immune cells.

Hopefullly they can find something prevalent in cancer cells to target with this.

Re:They do have a plan for the T-cells after (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 3 years ago | (#37394358)

The sensation of "feeling sick" is (in layman's terms) your body shunting all resources to the immune system. You get sick to get better. This is partly why people who claim to never get sick have a tendency to suddenly drop dead. Their body is still full of garbage, they just never noticed because the fight was subtle. The more responsive your immune system, the more it beats the crap out of you. I'm dumbing it down to extremes here, so don't go and write this in your Med school entry exam :P

It can, and does, happen that said "shunting" gets so extreme that you die anyway, but that's what the ICU is for. If these researchers can coax the body into waging a full-scare biowar on cancer, and keep you alive through it, that's HUGE!

Re:They do have a plan for the T-cells after (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394370)

This is partly why people who claim to never get sick have a tendency to suddenly drop dead. Their body is still full of garbage, they just never noticed because the fight was subtle.

Yeah, or maybe their immune system is actually doing a good job getting rid of the "garbage"?

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you're not a doctor?

Re:They do have a plan for the T-cells after (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394404)

Yes chemo can get the T-Cells back out, which after they can infuse clones of the original T-Cells back in. I doubt they will do either, because of extra cost, after all there cured why spend more. I think the patient should be quarantined for about 2 weeks while being cured of cancer, then eliminating GE T-Cells and restoring the patients orig biological ecosystem. I host a training program for those docs, have to watch a lot of medical conferences and generally find the immune system a work of art that should be studied in computer science.

Re:They do have a plan for the T-cells after (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37394866)

They're still his T-cells, they just got some direct reprogramming. Other than cells bearing the target protean (his cancerous B cells), nothing in his body will have any problem with them. The actual T-cells will die off now that the cancer is gone, but memory cells will now be primed to mount a new response if it's ever needed.

The fact that his new immune response is permanent is a good thing. If the cancer tries to come back, it'll get nipped in the bud before he even knows it happened.

Xkcd on the topic (4, Informative)

Sparx139 (1460489) | about 3 years ago | (#37394156)

Duplicate? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 years ago | (#37394162)

Didn't we get this a couple weeks back?

Use HIV to reprogram his white blood cells to attack cancer?

Re:Duplicate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394306)

I think that was different, this is using re-mapped white t-cells to fight off the disease.

That was using cancer to fight off aids or vice versa to kill the disease if i recall correctly. This is different i believe.

Re:Duplicate? (1)

j-beda (85386) | about 3 years ago | (#37394352)

yeah, right here: http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/08/11/1458205/Cancer-Cured-By-HIV [slashdot.org]

but at least this story title is a bit more accurate.

Re:Duplicate? - wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394540)

Wrong, that study was in germany this was at UPE

Re:Duplicate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394682)

pretty sure they are different, that study was conducted in germany. This one at the university of Pennsylvania

similar tech using proteins instead of genes (1)

mauthbaux (652274) | about 3 years ago | (#37394166)

There's a company called Argos therapeutics http://www.argostherapeutics.com/ [argostherapeutics.com] which uses proteins harvested from cancer biopsies to do the same thing. Last I checked, they were in phase 2 clinicals (efficacy testing). This is as close to personalized medicine as anyone is really able to do right now. Disclaimer: the only tie to the company that I have is that I interviewed there a couple years ago (didn't get the job unfortunately).

Sort of old news (1, Redundant)

Brian_Ellenberger (308720) | about 3 years ago | (#37394170)

From a few weeks back. XKCD even did a comic on it.
http://www.xkcd.com/938/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Sort of old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394380)

No this is different i believe.

woah! so jealous. (2)

Narcocide (102829) | about 3 years ago | (#37394206)

Does this mean he's practically immune to cancer now? Like, he could smoke, drink, bqq and huff glue all he wants and not get cancer again... just like, maybe flu symptoms? I'm kinda jealous... I wonder what other super powers this might come with. (Reduced aging anyone?)

Re:woah! so jealous. (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 3 years ago | (#37394262)

T cells focus on a single invader DNA, there are many different cancer DNA- Meaning no, this won't give full immunity.

Re:woah! so jealous. (1)

terrox (555131) | about 3 years ago | (#37394462)

the article answers that.

Re:woah! so jealous. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37394746)

Unfortunately for us, "Cancer" is a very plural mass noun(both because it is a catch-all category for a large number of conditions caused by one's own cells dividing in excess, and because cells that have jumped the tracks and defeated the various safeguards in place against uncontrolled replication are in an excellent position to evolve rapidly).

If he's lucky, this particular flavor of cancer won't be back to finish him off. Even then, though, there are a zillion others just waiting in the wings...

Re:woah! so jealous. (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37394886)

He is immune to that particular cancer now. Unfortunately, he remains just as vulnerable as any of us to the others.

immunopheresis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394230)

http://www.immunologyfoundation.org/ has been doing immune therapy work for cancer for years with pretty high success rates in europe.

Autoimune side effects? (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | about 3 years ago | (#37394252)

Whenever I see a suggestion about using the immune system in some new and novel way I cannot help but get worried about autoimune side effects.

I guess it is a bit irrational since vaccinations are basically stimulating the immune system to hit specific pathogens, and most of them are very safe as compared to other drugs, but I can't help but feel a bit uneasy about training the body to attack its own cells.

Re:Autoimune side effects? (1)

dr2chase (653338) | about 3 years ago | (#37394302)

I think there's much more to worry about here than with a vaccination, seeing as how the cancer is a lot more like us than some random bacteria or virus. However, don't forget "compared to what". People were willing to do some scary shit to avoid Smallpox ("here, I'll infect you from this pus-filled sore on a cow"). Someone who's already got bad cancer is in an even worse place than that.

Re:Autoimune side effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394574)

Look at it this way.

The guy mentioned in the article had undergone chemotherapy. It didn't work. He was basically a dead man walking; they either tried something radical, or he was going to die.

Or, put another way - he had nothing to lose. If it causes significant problems for him down the road, well, hey - he's had six months (or a year, or two years, or ...) that he otherwise wouldn't have had, and those will have been good times, not days spent lying in a bed wishing he was dead.

So yeah. Long term effects - possibly a concern. But given that the alternative was death in very short order, I think the tradeoff was worth it.

Re:Autoimune side effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394844)

I think that depends on the indivudual's particular immune system. Outside of those folks who already have autoimmune issues, I don't know if this approach can cause permanent damage in that respect. Could perhaps trigger it if they were otherwise succepticble, but that's a small population.

Re:Autoimune side effects? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37394946)

Actually, autoimmune reactions are a serious risk with this sort of treatment. One woman died of an autoimmune attack on her lungs when a similar technique was tried to cure her colon cancer. It's particularly tricky since the target is actually cells from the patient's own body that just have damage to a few critical genes.

The patient's recovery is BECAUSE of an autoimmune reaction to his own B cells. ALL of his B cells, cancerous or not. In his case, they weren't working well anyway (the few healthy ones were swamped by the cancer) and in any event he was terminal without the treatment, so nearly anything was better than nothing.

He will require periodic infusions of immune globulin for the rest of his life to help compensate for the loss of his B cells, but that seems to be an excellent trade-off.

Where's DrBob? (4, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 3 years ago | (#37394258)

I can't gauge the validity of this research without a mention of subluxations as a calibration reference for my stupidity detector.

They will stop this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394264)

American Cancer Society (cancer.org) and others similar institutions receive millions in donations from dying patients and their families, they live-off cancer donation and it is their primary business, they give away only about 1% to the research, while 99% goes to compensations, wages, and salaries. Lets see what they think about it.

Read the scandals and criticism section here for example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Cancer_Society

Re:They will stop this (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37394782)

Are they going to deploy their reserve army of carcinogen ninjas or something?

Do organizations often have a structural problem with dependence on what they are supposed to fight? That they do, and a fair few succumb. However, there is a nontrivial additional burden of proof when you go from saying that an organization is merely bloated, feckless, and profiteering, to saying that the organization is willing and capable of halting progress in order to preserve its reason for existence.

It can, and does, happen; but it takes an additional step, additional power, and additional ruthlessness and/or blindness on the part of those involved...

3rd story in 2 weeks about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394270)

This is the 3rd story I've heard about this kind of thing in the last 3 weeks. The first story was here [msn.com] , which is a very interesting way to do this kind of thing. The next story I heard was here [www.ctv.ca] which sounds very similar (but different), and now this. Will cancer be eradicated within 10 years? No one knows for sure, but things are very promising. Maybe some of this research will save my life, maybe it will save you life (and I don't have cancer, and you may not have cancer now either, but 10 years older is 10 years older).

Virus treating cancer isn't new.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394298)

..although this is a novel methodology that has a lot of promise.

Closer to approval is the Reovirus from Oncolytics Biotech, http://www.oncolyticsbiotech.com which is natural(not engineered), has been in trials for 10 years and currently in a Phase III trial with the FDA under SPA(Special Protocol Assessment) which means that if the mathematical endpoints agreed to prior to the trial are met then likelihood of approval is high.

Repost (1)

poity (465672) | about 3 years ago | (#37394316)

http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/08/11/1458205/Cancer-Cured-By-HIV [slashdot.org]
Incredibly interesting nonetheless.

NO DAMN YOU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394906)

NOPE this is NOT a re-post.

That study was done in germany, this study was at UPE

Fringe (1)

caspy7 (117545) | about 3 years ago | (#37394348)

Awesome.
Sounds like something that would happen on Fringe - except on Fringe it would happen in under an hour.

House (1)

PPH (736903) | about 3 years ago | (#37394418)

He'd nearly kill the patient 3 times while making remarks about Cuddy's ass. And after the successful cure, he'd admit that the procedure had not yet been approved for use on rats, let alone people.

If it was Fringe, they'd be using alien DNA.

Re:Fringe (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37394962)

And the doctor would have dropped acid first.

THIS IS NOT A MOTHA FUKIN DUPLICATE ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394488)

People, please read the MOTHER FFFFFFFFFFFFF u ckin article!

The previous article that was similar to this is NOT this. That study was conducted in germany. This was done at the University of Pennsylvania.

Im sick of people not actually READING the articles.

Good Progress but NOT a WIN... (yet) (1)

SirAstral (1349985) | about 3 years ago | (#37394596)

If you read the article the treatment destroys ALL B-Cells good and bad while the new T-cells are present. With this I can certainly understand why the doctors are still reluctant to party. But it is definitely good to still have in the arsenal.

We can consider treatment a win when the disease is eliminated, the modified cells are gone, and normal biological operation is restored. But in the case of this treatment, if the special t-cells all die, then the reproduction of bad B-Cells may resume.

The really scary part of this all is the usage of HIV virus. Yes it's gutted but the wonderful thing about viruses is that they have the nasty habit of adapting to survive and if the theory on evolution is true, then eventually it's going to happen. The source of change may come from one of the cells being modified behaving in a way that is unexpected because it has damaged DNA and voila, that damaged DNA combines with the RNA to create something else. Heck, the RNA in the vector could become damaged and start another fun experiment to stop the new threat or it could just become wasted and die out.

For now I would just classify this stuff as interesting but definitely a little scary.

Re:Good Progress but NOT a WIN... (yet) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394760)

Please for god sakes STOP mixing up two different stories !

The previous article written 2 months ago was conducted in germany!!!!

Re:Good Progress but NOT a WIN... (yet) (1)

SirAstral (1349985) | about 3 years ago | (#37394954)

I am only referring to the article linked in this story, additionally all of my comments are regarding the information on Mr. Ludwig.

Additionally the article in the link has no references to anything in Germany that I could find. Maybe you need to point out where the discrepancies are rather than just saying they exist.

Isn't cancer eventually inevitable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37394650)

After all cancer is cell division gone bad because the instructions have degraded from analog copying? Eventually every cell will have degraded instructions, it is inevitable. Live long enough, you WILL get cancer.

What could possibly go wrong? (2)

thisisauniqueid (825395) | about 3 years ago | (#37394914)

The chance of causing an autoimmune disease with this sort of treatment protocol seems enormous... Do you really think that nothing could possibly go wrong in training the body to kill its own cells of a specific narrow type?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395022)

You're a worthless idiot, this isn't the virgin mary, this is a 65 year old on deaths door... do you really think his primary concern is getting graves disease or lupis after his life was saved? Better refuse the treatment and die from leukemia just to be on the safe side you twat.

Supprise ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395016)

So the doctors failed to predict that after you tell the body that cancer is a decease... the body would start acting like it's sick ? (Fever etc. especially given the large biomass the body had to deal with ...)

"His temperature shot up" (2)

iMadeGhostzilla (1851560) | about 3 years ago | (#37395044)

I remember reading about a decades old cancer treatment technique that included fevers with very high temperatures. The physicians of the time claimed it was the body heat that killed the tumors.

Don't know how valid that is, but I know that a doctor told me once when I have fever not to take an aspirin just to lower the body temperature (unless it's dangerously high) because fever creates conditions for the body to fight the germs.

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