With a cancer diagnosis the typical treatment options are surgical removal, laser/radiation, or chemotherapy. This Wednesday (8/30/17) the FDA added a fourth weapon to the arsenal – somatic gene therapy.
The therapy was developed to target acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) which afflicts about 3,000 children and young adults annually. This therapy uses the body’s own defense mechanisms to activate an attack on the cancer cells. The FDA press release reported that within 3 months of therapy the cancer had a remission rate of 83%, which is a pretty phenomenal success rate.
In my article on this advancement I talk about the different kinds of gene therapy there are and where the ethical concerns lie. For this advancement, it is hard not to be encouraged – not just for those afflicted with ALL but for the promise this new therapy holds for advancements in fighting other forms of cancer.
You can read my article here.