To perform the treatment, doctors remove millions of the patient’s T-cells — a type of white blood cell — and insert new genes that enable the T-cells to kill cancer cells. The technique employs a disabled form of H.I.V. because it is very good at carrying genetic material into T-cells. The new genes program the T-cells to attack B-cells, a normal part of the immune system that turn malignant in leukemia.
This article in the NY Times mind-boggling stuff. It’s incredible to me that we can repurpose a virus that has the dire consequences that H.I.V. does and turn it into something that has such a profoundly positive effect on a patient. It sounds like we’re still a bit away from seeing this as a more mainstream treatment or “cure,” but I’m encouraged by this progress and the promise this shows.
Source: The New York Times