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Study Update: The Anti-Cancer Blood Transfusion

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http://www.sciencentral.com/articles/vi ... =218393125

Comment: An article which was posted a while back, spoke to Dr. Zheng Cui's work at Wake Forest University.

The trials were to begin, but first, the weather (warm and sunny) needed to be in place. It had everything to do with the immune system being at peak during the warmer months.


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Researchers have announced today that they'll soon start human trials of a cancer fighting method that uses blood from people who may be naturally cancer resistant. As this ScienCentral News video explains, for a decade the researchers have studied how this works in mice, and now they've received federal approval to try it in people.

Human Study Approved

In 1999, Wake Forest University cancer researcher Zheng Cui repeatedly subjected a seemingly ordinary laboratory mouse to injections of huge doses of cancer cells that unfailingly killed other laboratory mice at lower doses. He discovered that this unique mouse had the previously unseen ability to remain cancer free. Cui and his team bred the amazing mouse, and learned that this cancer resistance was passed on to the mouse's offspring in an autosomal dominant pattern, meaning it is likely due to a mutation in a single gene.

They still haven't found that gene, but that hasn't stopped Cui from pursuing treatment implications, because it made sense to him from day one that this resistance must also occur in people. "We occasionally run into the stories of someone who had a cancer, and then, a few months later, it disappeared for no obvious reason," he said in 2003. "But in medical research, you cannot go back to the patient and say, âWhat did the body do to get rid of these cancer cells?'"

In mice, you can ask that question

They identified the cancer-killing cells as white blood cells, or leukocytes, part of the innate immune system, and observed that they seek out cancer cells, surround them, and burst them.

Cui, his colleague Mark Willingham, and their team bred a large colony of cancer resistant mice and decided to transfer these cells from the cancer resistant mice to normal mice afflicted with advanced cancers. The infusions cured the cancers in the ordinary mice "100 percent of the time," Cui said.

"Cancer cells had already developed a large tumor in the mice, and at a different place [than] where we put the immune cells in," says Cui, "That would require the immune cells to find them at a different part of the body and then track them down to the site and destroy the cancer cells."

Additionally, these immune system cells only harm cancer cells, allowing the mouse to remain perfectly healthy.

Time to try it in people?

After learning of this exciting new discovery, many people requested that Cui attempt this procedure in humans. Cui said he felt a moral responsibility to push for human tests.

"If we can identify cancer resistant humans, why not just do the same thing as we did in the mice without knowing the mechanism and to find out whether it will work or not?"

They now have approval to try it. As Cui will describe at a conference sponsored by the Methuselah Foundation, they have developed a test to identify these cancer-killing cells in human blood, and their studies have shown that individual genetic make-ups, different seasons, different ages, and emotional stresses greatly affect these cancer-killing cells.

Furthermore, individuals whose cells have low cancer-killing activity are most often cancer patients. Given this information, it appears that an injection of granulocytes, the part of white blood cells that has the highest cancer-killing activity, from healthy cancer-resistant people to cancer patients would work.

First human trial starting

The pilot study will now begin to recruit as many as 500 potential cell donors to be screened for cancer resistance. They will select donors by testing whether their white blood cells show this same ability to kill human tumor cells in the lab. Their cells will then be used to treat 22 patients with advanced cancers.

Cui notes that this transfusion program is not at all unusual, pointing out that it's similar to the bone marrow transplants that are used in medicine. He says, "If we can offer some clear clinical benefit, it's just like another arrow in the quiver, so to speak, that can give us more weapons to fight against cancer."

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(Science Central News, Making Sense of Science, June 27, 2008)


The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not posted as medical advice of any kind.

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