I just ran a post about an extremely promising cancer immunotherapy on Help With Cancer.org:
I mention how a lot of “amazing” new cancer therapies have come and gone over the years. But what I like about this approach is that the immunotherapy targets aren’t too specific. And that’s one reason why the patient, Emma, got so sick during treatment.
My understanding is the antibodies that are created using these individualized immunotherapy approaches can and do destroy a lot of cancer cells. But most cancers have more than one type of “clone,” especially multiple myeloma, making it difficult to treat over time. These clones morph, bob and weave, changing just enough to evade treatment, even if many are destroyed by general chemo, targeted immunotherapy or both.
Also, “researchers may miss one or more clones during their individual work-ups. So eventually, the cancer grows strong again–this time built on stronger, drug resistant cells.”
I’m far from an expert on any of this. But based on what I just learned at ASH about myeloma cells, its the “lack of specificity” that might make this treatment ideal for multiple myeloma patients someday.
Of course the “almost dying” part probably isn’t so great. As always, guess the devil is in the details!
Kidding aside, why haven’t I seen the results of this study trumpeted all over the myeloma list/serve? As I wrote in my Help With Cancer.org post, “Using a patient’s own antibodies to destroy their cancer–is the holy grail of cancer research.” I believe this may be the most promising “curative” experimental therapy I’ve seen to date.
This is exciting stuff! I get an extra spring-in-my-step whenever I think about it.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat