The first successful case of cervical cancer using immune therapy has been reported by the doctors.
Cervical cancer is caused by the human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted disease commonly known as HPV.
The National Cancer Institute carried a pilot study under which it treated women with cervical cancer using immune therapy. According to the doctors, the tumors of two out of nine women completely disappeared after the treatment. Moreover, those women remain cancer-free more than a year later.
As part of the cervical cancer treatment during the pilot study, the researchers carried sampling a woman’s tumor, isolating special immune system cells that were attacking it, multiplying them in the lab and giving them back to the patient in a one-time infusion.
The news about the successful cases was reported at a conference this week in Chicago of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Doctors say immune therapy reported more successful cases than any other treatment has achieved in such cases.
With the impressive success, doctors are mulling over using the therapy now against throat, anal and other cancers caused by HPV, the human papillomavirus.
“This is very, very exciting,” said Dr. Don Dizon of Massachusetts General Hospital, a women’s cancer specialist with no role in the study.
The doctors at the conference not only highlighted the success rate of immune therapy against cervical cancers but also mentioned its success stories against leukemia and the skin cancer melanoma to bladder, lung and other tumor types.
The doctors presented the success story of 38-year-old Arrica Wallace, of Manhattan, Kansas, west of Topeka. Wallace was 35 when her cancer was discovered in 2011. Her tumours spread widely, with one tumor so large that it blocked half of her windpipe. Even the strongest chemotherapy and radiation failed to cure her. She was left with less than a year to live.
“I couldn’t give up,” Wallace who is the mother of two, sons 8 and 12 years old, said.
She enrolled with the pilot study of National Cancer Institute and researchers removed one of her tumors, isolated special immune system cells that were attacking it, multiplied them in the lab and gave billions of them back to her in a one-time infusion.
“It’s been 22 months since treatment and 17 months of completely clean scans that show no sign of cancer”, Wallace said.