London- American researchers have moved forward with a gene therapy treatment for “terminal” patients that have failed to beat cancer following chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
US pharmaceutical company Kite Pharma released results from the first six months of its trial of the new treatment, called CAR-T cell therapy.
Some 36 per cent of the 101 patients on the trial were still in complete remission at six months, and eight in 10 saw their cancer shrink by at least half during the study.
The treatment, which has been dubbed “a living drug” by doctors, works by filtering a patient’s blood to remove key immune system cells called T-cells, which are then genetically engineered in the lab to recognize cancer cells.
While side effects are not known yet, researchers said that the gene therapy treatment is the best method for patients who no longer have better chances of treatment because of their advanced condition.
In a related development, a study showed strong evidence of a link between excess body fat and cancers of the colon, breast, pancreas and ovary among others.
“I think now the public and physicians really need to pay attention to obesity with respect to cancer,” British media quoted Marc Gunter, a co-author of the research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, as saying.
“Telling people to avoid being overweight not only reduces their risk of, say, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it also reduces their risk of many different cancers,” he said.