A team of researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, has demonstrated sustained regression of advanced melanoma in a study of 17 patients by genetically engineering patients' own white blood cells to recognize and attack cancer cells. The study appears in the online edition of the journal Science on August 31, 2006*.For a Q &A on gene therapy techniques similar to those used in this study, go to: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/gene.
"These results represent the first time gene therapy has been used successfully to treat cancer. Moreover, we hope it will be applicable not only to melanoma, but also for a broad range of common cancers, such as breast and lung cancer," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.
For more information on Dr. Rosenberg's research, go to http://ccr.cancer.gov/staff/staff.asp?profileid=5757.
* Morgan RA, Dudley ME, Wunderlich JR, Hughes MS, Yang JC, Sherry RM, Royal RE, Topalian SL, Kammula US, Restifo NP, Zheng Z, Nahvi A, de Vries CR, Rogers-Freezer LJ, Mavroukakis SA, Rosenberg SA. Cancer regression in patients mediated by transfer of genetically engineered lymphocytes. Science Express. Online August 31, 2006.
National Public Radio did a story on gene therapy recently which includes an interview with NCI researcher, Dr. Steven Rosenberg. You can listen to it here.