Study Confirms Effectiveness of Groundbreaking Penn Cancer Treatment

Now, go re-read Philly Mag's "Patient Number 7."

A Penn/CHOP study released over the weekend confirmed that a groundbreaking new cancer treatment being tested by a group of Penn researchers has yielded a very high success rate.

Penn and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on Saturday reported the results from 59 adults and children who received a gene therapy engineered from their own disease-fighting T cells to treat recurrent, intractable leukemia.

In 31 patients – more than half – the leukemia disappeared. The “serial killer” T cells kicked in within two weeks of being infused, eradicating pounds of malignant cells within days. Twenty-six patients remain cancer-free, including two of the first three who were treated in 2010.

Caveat: The T-cell treatment is better at treating “acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form in children,” than “against chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the slower-progressing form that arises in adults.” For much, much more check out Jason Fagone’s “Patient Number 7,” on the treatment and the men behind it.