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Inching closer to a cure for some cancers

So long as you avoid politics, there are some interesting things going on in the great wide world.

Sagiv-Barfi and Levy [1] led the work on a possible cancer treatment that involves injecting two immune-stimulating agents directly into solid tumors.

The bottom line is this: 87 out of 90 mice were cured — as in they had no cancers after treatment. The three that weren’t did respond to a second treatment. These results are phenomenal.

Yes, humans don’t always respond as well as mice, etc., etc., etc. Even with all the caveats, these results are phenomenal.

What’s equally phenomenal is that the treatment does not cause the whole immune system to go into overdrive, which has caused problems, even fatalities, in some immunotherapies. It just kicks the responsible immune cells already in the tumor into recognizing the culprits. And then those T4 cells kill that cancer wherever it’s found in the body.

There’s no need to design proteins, culture patients’ cells, or do any other fancy, expensive and customized-to-each-patient procedures.

The treatment also worked on mice genetically engineered to develop solid tumors.

It was tested only on solid cancers, not, for instance, leukemia.

Both of the immune-stimulating agents have already been used in humans, one is already an approved treatment, so the regulatory slog is likely to be less sloggy than normal.

Can’t wait!

Ronald Levy and Idit Sagiv-Barfi, Stanford.

(Steve Fisch)

Eradication of spontaneous malignancy by local immunotherapy [2], by Idit Sagiv-Barfi, Debra K. Czerwinski, Shoshana Levy, Israt S. Alam, Aaron T. Mayer, Sanjiv S. Gambhir and Ronald Levy. Science Translational Medicine 31 Jan 2018: Vol. 10, Issue 426, eaan4488
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan4488

6 Comments (Open | Close)

6 Comments To "Inching closer to a cure for some cancers"

#1 Comment By Earlynerd On 04 Feb, 2018 @ 17:03

What inspiring news! It’s the mental equivalent of a cute animal break.

I feel a little better already, in spite of yet another insane political week. Thank you for posting this.

#2 Comment By Branjor On 05 Feb, 2018 @ 08:43

Yes, thanks for posting this – very hopeful news in some otherwise dark times! 🙂

#3 Comment By Earlynerd On 07 Feb, 2018 @ 00:27

Can I introduce just a little bit of a downer to that beautiful Space-X landing? The MSNBC newscaster who follows Laurence O’Donnell was reporting on this tonight (can’t remember his name, but I think he’s pretty annoying) and asked the audience to remember what “we” i.e. NASA, had done previously in the space program.

As inspiring as Elon Musk’s company’s achievement is, the “we” is missing in a private company. I want my NASA back! Waaaaah!

#4 Comment By quixote On 11 Feb, 2018 @ 08:45

Yes, it was a “cute animal break” for me too! 😀

Earlynerd, I agree about the missing “we.” Plus, the cheapness is nice because it increases access to space. But other than that, there are no breakthroughs. (Not even to the extent of calling the car dummy “Spacegal.”)

As one wit pointed out, NASA already sent a car into space. In 1969. And then landed it on the moon and drove it around.

#5 Comment By Earlynerd On 11 Feb, 2018 @ 17:48

Indeed! And again in 2002-2003 with Spirit and Opportunity and 2012 with Curiosity, on Mars. With much better names.

#6 Comment By quixote On 28 Mar, 2018 @ 19:01

This immunotherapy is already moving to the earliest [3], very small ones with a sample size of 35 just to test safety.

Dr. Levy mentioned that the FDA might approve it with a couple of years. If so, that’s amazing. It’s usually more like seven or nine. It helps, of course, that the individual drugs used in combination have been separately tested and are already known to be safe.