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September 20, 2007

Curing Cancer

I dunno. This seems wonderful if true but I lack the detailed knowledge to know whether it is.

Cancer  sufferers could be cured with injections of immune cells from other people within two years, scientists say.

In effect, some people's immune systems are better at fighting cancer than those of others. So, take the cancer fighting cells from those better and stick them in those suffering. Seems entirely logical but:

He added: “If they’re using live cells there is a theoretical risk of graft-versus-host disease, which can prove fatal.”

If you're using live cells, that is indeed a problem: and the traditional drugs to stop this happening all have the effect of compromising the immune system....rather the opposite of what the treatment is meant to do.

Anyone better qualified want to comment? Is this the medical equivalent of cold fusion or not?

September 20, 2007 in Health Care | Permalink


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“If this is half as effective in humans as it is in mice it could be that half of patients could be cured or at least given one to two years extra of high quality life." If.

Posted by: dearieme | Sep 20, 2007 9:21:09 AM

If you're expecting it to cure all cancers, then yes, it might as well be cold fusion. Cancer is a generic term for 1000s of diseases, and there's never going to be a single magic bullet.

Ignoring the sensationalisation (all researchers have to do it to obtain funding), it could be useful for treating particular types of cancer in particular groups of people, but that's about the extent of my medical knowledge.

Posted by: sas | Sep 20, 2007 11:42:29 AM

Hmmmm, interesting.

I cannot remember the crux of this issue, which is: do the two different types of white blood cell have person-specific antigens? Red blood cells do not (which is why we can transplant blood) but I cannot remember if the white variants do.


Posted by: Devil's Kitchen | Sep 21, 2007 1:28:53 AM

The real problem will be in convincing all these people to continually donate tissue without any financial compensation - and then get them sit back calmly and watch the organizations providing the treatment rake it in hand over foot.

Posted by: Agammampn | Sep 21, 2007 3:33:12 AM