If only we could put our cancer-fighting cells in a gym, bulk them up with weight training, and transform them into super soldiers, Oh, wait a minute, we could already do that.
Imagine extracting someone else’s cancer-fighting immune cells, soaking them in a drug with antifungal properties for the survival of the fittest, then putting them back in your body. That’s exactly what happens if you undergo allogeneic rapamycin-resistant thymus-derived lymphocyte (T-cell) transplant.
Whew, that’s a mouthful, is it not? Grab some tissue for a possible nosebleed and take a moment to understand exactly how this novel treatment is making waves as the possible cure for blood cancer.
The ultimate battle: strong immunity vs. strong cancer
Leukemia, watch out. You now have a worthy contender in the form of rapamycin-resistant T-cell therapy! Immune cells, given a much-needed “upgrade,” are promising to be as good as, if not better than, chemotherapy and radiotherapy in killing cancer cells.
“To fight strong cancer, you need a strong immune system,” said Dr. Daniel Fowler, senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute. He described the leaps and bounds he and his team has made in cancer research during a leukemia awareness talk organized by the Philippine College of Physicians and the EPCALM Adult Leukemia Foundation of the Philippines.
“We take out the (T-cells of a person’s) immune system, put it in the incubator, then add rapamycin. If a T-cell can tolerate rapamycin, then it’s strong,” Fowler explained.