The journal Nature Medicine recently published the results of a study in which doctors were able to cure a patient with advanced breast cancer in the terminal stage. For this, an experimental method of immunotherapy was used, as a result of which, within a few weeks, the tumors disappeared, and for almost 2 years the patient has been in complete remission.
This method of treatment is an improved form of the so-called adaptive immunotherapy. Its essence lies in the fact that first, human immune cells are collected, after which molecules that recognize cancer are introduced into them. At the final stage, these "armed" cells are introduced into the body of a cancer patient, where they penetrate into tumors and destroy them.
At an early stage of research, some problems arose: the technique was effective only in certain forms of cancer, in particular, in epithelial oncological diseases. They usually lead to minor mutations, which are fundamental to the programming of immune cells to destroy malignant tumors.
Despite encouraging results, research is at an early stage and may continue until 2023, so it is too early to talk about widespread clinical use - it could take decades.
Last year, adaptive immunotherapy was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unfortunately, this method of treatment will not be available to everyone. For example, several young patients suffering from blood cancer, the treatment cost almost half a million dollars.