The end of chemo: Safer ways to fight cancer

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(CNN) — When 14-year-old Nick Wilkins’ leukemia resisted chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant, his doctors turned to the real pros: Nick’s own immune cells.

Using an experimental treatment, the doctors taught Nick’s immune system to attack his cancer in much the same way he’d fight off the common cold. Two months later, Nick went into complete remission.

Twenty-one other young people received the same treatment, and 18 of them had similar responses to Nick’s.

The University of Pennsylvania and other medical centers are testing the targeted approach in more patients, and doctors are cautiously optimistic it might work to treat other types of cancer.

“This is absolutely one of the more exciting advances I’ve seen in cancer therapy in the last 20 years,” says Dr. David Porter, a hematologist and oncologist at Penn. “We’ve entered into a whole new realm of medicine.”

In the last five years the Food and Drug Administration has approved more than 20 targeted cancer therapies for tumors with specific genetic markers, according to the American Association for Cancer Research.

One approach deprives cancer cells of essential nutrients. A drug using this approach was approved in February after a clinical trial showed it shrank tumors in nearly 58% of patients with a rare blood cancer.

There are also drugs that contain man-made antibodies that glom on to cancer cells and, once inside, release toxic chemicals.

“I call them smart bombs,” says Dr. Patricia LoRusso, who investigates experimental drugs at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit and helped develop a therapy approved last year for late-stage breast cancer.

A similar concept still in the early stages of experimentation loads a drug onto star-shaped particles of gold 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair to cause DNA damage inside the nucleus of cancer cells.

“If you shut down the brain (of the cancer cell), the whole cell is going to die,” says Teri Odom, a materials science professor at Northwestern University.

In time, researchers hope to use a lot less chemotherapy to fight cancer.

“These more elegant and targeted approaches will ultimately do away with the less elegant, less targeted traditional (therapies),” says Dr. Renier Brentjens, director for cellular therapeutics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

By John Bonifield

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2 comments

  • Zachary

    January 24, 2014
    7:35 A.M.

    C.K.C. (Cancer Killing Cell)
    Cancer that Kills Cancer then Dies

    Cancer grows out of control and infects tissues.

    H.I.V. kills the Immune System’s Cells by infecting those cells and then causing them to attack and infect other healthy cells.

    So, splice DNA from H.I.V., but splice the DNA Segment that causes H.I.V. and H.I.V. Infected cells to attack Healthy cells and reprogram the DNA Segment to where it targets only Cancer Cells, then reprogram Cancer DNA to not grow out of control, but instead not even undergo meiosis or mitosis and thus not split apart, so it can’t spread.

    [Note: Next Part is a Three-Part Process, and as such it will not be finished until all the steps have been completed.]

    1st Part; Infection Process:

    Then take the DNA Segment of an A.I.D. Cell that causes the Immune System’s cells to die and/ or destroy themselves once infected, and reprogram the DNA Segment to target Cancer Cells, as well as reprogramming the Suicide Genetic Code Segment to come into effect when infecting a Cancer Cell, or in other words once a Cancer Cell is infected the genetically reprogrammed cell will die, but the process of infection of the Cancer Cells and Death of the Reprogrammed and Infected Cells will only go on until the last Cancer Cell is infected, because then there is nothing left to infect, due to its code has only 1 target which all points to Cancer Cells.

    2nd Part; Explaination of Why White Blood Cells can’t destroy it:

    Since it is basically a Genetically Engineered Cell, and its unlike any cell ever created and/ or put into anything’s body, the Body will have no defense or knowledge of any way to counteract the virus, and will thus be unable to created antibodies that will be able to destroy it.

    3rd Part (1/2); Death Process of the Cell (Also, Shortened Explaination):

    Since it can’t reproduce it will be easy to kill off, but with the DNA, it will also be unable to be attacked successfully by antibodies, but since it doesn’t have any Defensive and/ or Offensive code other than to attack Cancer Cells, the body will also not react to it as a complete threat due to it has no sickness causing behavior, and it will be seen as antibodies or medicine by the body, but it will have at least a 50% chance of being attacked by the body, but in case its not you can do a really very simple thing.

    [Note: Death Process Below]

    3rd Part (2/2); Death Process:

    Now, what you can do is implant the cell with a DNA Segmeny that will cause a Neurotoxin (Or anything that will cause a cell to immediatly die) Release, and have the Implanted DNA Segment set to release the Death Toxin after at max a 3 day period after infection, so the reprogrammed cell will kill itself in the case that the body does not find a way to kill the reprogrammed cell, but since cells are so small, the Death Toxin (As I said before, possibly a Neurotoxin) will be in such as small amount when released, that it will be harmless to Humans and other animals, so then just proceed to purge the Neurotoxin (Or Death Toxin) from the body.

    And that is a Viable Cure for Cancer, all you really need is to figure out the Genetics and Amount of Toxin for the Suicide DNA Segment, and then use it.

    Pros (Probable Pros):

    1. Less Expensive.
    2. Can Cure Cancer.
    3. Doesn’t hurt and is completely harmless to the body.
    4. No Visit to a room almost every week for treatment.
    5. Should Work.
    6. No surgery or operations needed.
    7. No port needed.
    8. No one can be allergic to the cell.
    9. Won’t make you sick.
    10. Faster working then other medicine.

    Cons (Probable Cons):

    1. Needs Testing.
    2. Takes Exspensive Lab Equipment to create (I think at least as a high probability).
    3. Side effects unknown (Should be None).

    And there you have it the first Viable Cure for Cancer.