Cancer treatment makes leukemia go away, but creates more mysteries

Once the CD8 cells did their job, they remained in the blood but, unexpectedly, they turned into CD4 cells. And when Penn investigators ...


Once the CD8 cells did their job, they remained in the blood but, unexpectedly, they turned into CD4 cells. And when Penn investigators removed CD4 cells from Mr. Ludwig and Mr. Olson’s blood, they saw that these cells could kill B cells in the lab. The CD4 cells had turned into assassins or, Dr. DiPersio noted, “at least gatekeepers who can keep tumor cells at bay and undetectable in the patient for years.”

Could CD4 cells stay in the blood without cancer cells to kill? Or were they there because the leukemia hadn’t really gone away but rather was trying to come back, only to be attacked by CD4 cells?

“We can’t find leukemia cells in Doug,” Dr. June said. But, he added, maybe they’re still there in minute amounts and emerging, only to be pushed out by CD4 cells, “like moles,” he said.

He suspects, however, that CD4 cells are more like guards.

“The leukemia is gone, but they stay at work,” he said.

Whatever the mechanism, Dr Porter said, the result “beyond my wildest imagination”.

“Oncologists don’t use words like ‘cure’ lightly or easily or, frankly, very often,” he said. “I guarantee you it is not used lightly. The patients we treated had very advanced disease,” he noted, adding that “the biggest disappointment is that it doesn’t work all the time.”

“Historically, if these cancers don’t recur within two to five years, the likelihood of recurrence is low,” said Dr. Hagop M. Kantarjian, chairman of the leukemia department at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. .

For Mr. Olson, now 75 and living in Pleasanton, California, life is good. He still shakes his head at the amazing coincidence that his oncologist turned out to be a researcher in this clinical trial ten years ago.

“I’m a lucky man,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Cancer treatment makes leukemia go away, but creates more mysteries
Cancer treatment makes leukemia go away, but creates more mysteries
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