Written by on 6/13/2014 11:30:00 AM
Two women with cervical cancer who went through immunotherapy are now in remission.
For Arrica Wallace, age 37, of Manhattan, Kansas, her diagnosis with stage III cervical cancer in 2011 was a shock. She had gone for regular Pap smears and all her tests had been normal. Cervical cancer is typically caused by the HPV virus and transforms normal cells into fast growing tumor cells - often caught in a Pap smear.
The mother of two shared her story with NBC News, “In all, I had 32 rounds of chemo, I had 25 days of radiation and I also had brachytherapy, internal radiation treatment before the trial treatment,” Wallace said. “My doctors … were pretty aggressive because I was young and healthy enough to handle the treatment side-effects.”
Yet after all that, the cancer prognosis was not good.
Dr. Christian Hinrichs, of the National Cancer Institute recruited Arrica Wallace to be part of a small cancer immunotherapy trial. Through a new approach, Henrichs and his colleagues find T-cells and amplifies the body’s own immune response to cancer. T-cells are important because if we have enough of them our body can control the cancer. Immunotherapy enlarges the impact of T-cells and in this trial helped a third of the patients and two patients, Arrica being one, experienced remission.
National Cancer Institute team says the results are really startling.
Dr. Hinrich added that, “It’s possible this approach may work against other cancers caused by HPV, including head and neck cancer. NIH researchers are recruiting patients now for relevant trials.
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Source: Presented by Dr. Hinrichs at ASCO May 3,1 2014 and covered by NBC News