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Adoptive T-cell therapy – Hope for Advanced Cancers

The future is here.

A U.S. government-led research by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) at the National Cancer Institute recently succeeded in putting 2 out of 9 patients in advanced stages of cervical cancer in complete remission for more than a year.

The method used was a kind of personalized cancer therapy known as “Adoptive T-cell therapy”.

adoptive t cell therapy Adoptive T cell therapy   Hope for Advanced Cancers


The therapy was done by removing white blood cells (WBC) specifically T-cells (that recognize and fight off viruses and cancers) from tumors of patients. For the cervical cancer patients, T-cells that recognized two HPV proteins were the ones taken. Researchers then grow them in the laboratory and inject them back to patients after a given time. This boosted the patients’ weakened immune defenses.

Of the 9 patients who underwent the procedure, 3 responded. Two went into remission for 11 months and 18 months while the other showed tumor volume reduction of 39%.

A non-participating doctor and director of Therapeutics in one reputed cancer center in the U.S. said that patients in advanced cancers now have a treatment option that may provide them with a durable disease response. This in a third of the time as based in the results.

‘Cruise Missiles’

The study is yet another kind of immunotherapy that has struggled for many years to gain leaps. But with this result, a number are hopeful that one day, adoptive T-cell therapy could be offered in cancer centers like stem cell and bone marrow transplants.

Side Effects

Because the method involves fiddling with the immune system, researchers have noted some serious side effects that include infections and decreased blood counts.

But, the research is still in its early stages and experts are hoping that unlike some other researches, this immunotherapy could continue to give significant gains as it deepens.

*Notes/Side notes/Terminologies

Immunotherapy – a kind of treatment that uses a person’s immune system to fight off diseases such as cancers.

Types of immunotherapy

  1. Monoclonal antibodies: These are man-made versions of immune system proteins. Antibodies can be very useful in treating cancer because they can be designed to attack a very specific part of a cancer cell.
  1. Cancer vaccines: Vaccines are substances put into the body to start an immune response against certain diseases. We usually think of them as being given to healthy people to help prevent infections. But some vaccines can help prevent or treat cancer.
  1. Non-specific immunotherapies: These treatments boost the immune system in a general way, but this can still help the immune system attack cancer cells.


  • Retrieved from Date accesses: June 26, 2014
  • Cutting edge immune therapy successfully treats cancer. June 3, 2014. Retrieved from Date accessed: June 26, 2014
  • Immunotherapy Treats Cervical Cancer With Success Retrieved from Date accessed: June 26, 2014

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