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ROCKVILLE (CBSMiami) – A promising experimental treatment has left a Florida woman’s advanced breast cancer in remission.
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute have put a patient with metastatic breast cancer into complete remission using a new approach to immunotherapy.
Dr. Steven Rosenberg and his team sequenced the DNA of one of her tumors to find which mutations were unique to her cancer.
They then found the tiny percentage of her immune cells programmed to recognize those mutations, grew them into large numbers, and injected them back into her bloodstream.
“You take a patient’s own cells, you attack their own cancer with their own cells and you attack a unique mutation that’s present in their cancer and none others,” said Dr. Rosenberg.
The patient, 52-year-old Judy Perkins, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003.
Ten years later it came back and had spread.
Her cancer did not respond to any treatments including chemotherapy and hormone therapy, until this one time treatment with more personalized immunotherapy.
“It was quite a relief to see that, you know, it wasn’t coming back,” Perkins said. “It was all gone.”
While much more study is needed, researchers say because all cancers have mutations, this approach could potentially be used to treat many different types of cancer.