A breakthrough trial in Philadelphia by Dr. Carl June is using patients' own immune systems as a safer, better option. In this LLS-funded research, doctors collect a patient's immune T cells, engineer them in the lab as "killer cells" and return them to the patient. The modified cells are trained to attack the cancer and multiply to expand the anti-cancer army.
Last week, success of this trial was heralded in the media. In this "immunotherapy" clinical trial, three adults with chronic leukemia achieved complete remissions with no signs of disease. Four other adults showed partial remissions. And a six-year-old patient diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia is now seven months in complete remission.
This treatment option might have been appealing when 10-year old Joseph Kayal was diagnosed with pediatric leukemia. When chemotherapy didn't produce the desired result, he needed a transplant and was lucky that one of his four brothers was a perfect match. It was an arduous procedure that required a five-week hospitalization that kept him from school and sports.
For Joseph and his family - and blood cancer patients everywhere - LLS's drive to develop safer and more effective treatments like this immunotherapy brings hope. And your dollars are making that possible today, not someday.
Please consider making a year-end gift. You will join other forward-thinking people who are helping shape the future of cancer treatment. And the futures of young soccer players like Joseph.
John E. Walter
President & CEO