In the latest study published in the journal Nature Medicine it has been established how US based researchers cured breast cancer of a woman whose cancer had even defied chemotherapy. This is the world’s first breast cancer treated with immunotherapy approach.
It involved pumping 90 billion cancer-killing immune cells into her body.
Judy Perkins had been given three months to live, but two years later there is no sign of cancer in her body.
Judy, who lives in Florida, had spreading, advanced breast cancer that could not be treated with conventional therapy.
The cancer had spread to other organs of the woman when she started with the treatment. A person’s immune system is designed to kill invaders like cancerous cells. But many a times it fails because it could not recognise cancer cells containing the patient’s own DNA.
Immunotherapy trains a patient’s own immune cells to recognise such cancerous cells and fight against them.
Immunotherapy and India
Experts say that while the conventional cancer therapy revolves around surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and their combinations; immunotherapy – a technique which had won the Noble Prize for medicine in 2011, is offering a ray of hope for advanced stage cancer patients.
After completion of successful trials in India, drug control authority has given permissions to selected doctors from few cities in India to make the therapy available to patients with cancer.
The drug controller has given an approval for four types of cancers. Accordingly, the therapy can be used in the case of lung, colorectal, ovary and prostate cancers in India.
The trials were concluded in 2014 in India. Dr P T Bapsy, senior oncologist from Apollo Hospital, Bangalore, who was part of the trials, said, “It is just coming up in India and very few doctors have got approval from drug controller. We had done the trials on terminal patients and it was found to be successful. Oncologists across the country will soon adapt to this technique.”