Cancer immunotherapy used to treat blood cancer

A cancer diagnosis can change everything in a person's life, except hope.

Amy Cheese, a third-grade teacher from Colorado, stepped away from the classroom last year hoping to find a treatment that would save her life.

She had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma a blood cancer.

All the traditional methods did nothing to shrink the grapefruit-sized tumor in her chest. So she came to Omaha, Nebraska, where her car T cells would get a science makeover.

We all have T cells to fight infection. But in a cancer patient, they somehow go haywire.

Amy's cells were harvested and sent to a California lab to be re-engineered and returned two weeks later to pinpoint her cancer and destroy it.

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is one of a handful of places in the country using this type of Nebraska medicine.

In a recent appointment oncologist, Dr. Julie Vose reveals to Amy that the therapy worked.

Successful cases like Amy’s has the FDA expanding the reach of the clinical trials.

"About 60% of the patients had a complete remission, meaning that at the end of the therapy there's no sign of the lymphoma.  Three months after that, there was 40% of the patients in complete remission, which may not seem like a lot but these are patients who had failed every other therapy they could possibly fail," said Dr. Vose.

Doctors believe this breakthrough cancer therapy could one day apply to all cancers.

Locally, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research has been at the forefront of re-engineered car T cell therapy. With the FDA fast-tracking research, it hopes more patients will be a part of a larger clinical trial.

© 2017 KING-TV


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