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New Immunotherapy Works Where Other Breast Cancer Treatments Fail

By jeremyc | June 4, 2018

A new type of immunotherapy led to complete regression of breast cancer in a case where other treatments failed. While this is a single case, the researchers are hopeful that this novel form will be soon able to help more people.

Immunotherapy is a popular cancer treatment. In this treatment, the immune system is boosted so it could target cancer cells better.

There are different forms of immunotherapy, and in recent times, several studies have shown immunotherapy to be effective where other treatments couldn’t produce results.

For example, adoptive cell transfer or ACT (a type of immunotherapy) has shown promise in treating cancers having lots of mutations, like bladder cancers, lung cancer, and melanoma. However, this treatment has failed to produce similar results in cancers with low levels of mutation, including breast cancer.

However, for this trial, the scientists used a novel form of ACT. In conventional ACT, T-cells are used for targeting cancer cell mutations. In this case, the researchers instead used tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes for targeting cancer cell mutations.

The results have been encouraging. The patient on whom this experimental immunotherapy was done failed to benefit from other breast cancer treatments, including hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

The cancer regressed completely after the treatment. Twenty-two months have passed since the complete disappearance of the cancer and the patient is still cancer-free.

While this is one-off case, the researchers are confident that they will be able to replicate such results in a larger number of people. This treatment depends on mutation and not is restricted to a certain type of cancer only. As each cancer has mutations, there’s a strong reason to believe that this novel form of immunotherapy will be able to give fresh hope to cancer patients.

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