A new treatment called a “living drug” modifies immune cells of the patient and ‘teaches’ them to attack cancer cells. The drug known as CAR-T cell immunotherapy was approved by FDA to be used for children and young adults with a common form of leukemia, according to NPR.
This achievement is the most important breakthrough in the research for a cure for cancer in decades. The drug genetically modifies the patient’s cells, that’s why this treatment is considered as a “gene therapy product,” according to the edition.
“This is the most exciting thing I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Dr. Timothy Cripe, an oncologist at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
It works by removing key immune system cells known as T cells from the patient so scientists can genetically modify them to seek out and attack only cancer cells. That’s why some scientists refer to this as a “living drug.”
Doctors then infuse millions of the genetically modified T cells back into the patient’s body so they can try to obliterate the cancer cells and hopefully leave healthy tissue unscathed.