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Immune System

NEWS
April 21, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
The seventh child to receive an experimental leukemia therapy at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia got good news last week: It worked. "Avrey Walker is cancer free!!!! A total remission!" her father, Aaron, exulted on their Facebook page. The 9-year-old from Redmond, Ore., was diagnosed at age 4 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a blood cancer that can be deadly within a few months if not treated. Like other children in the study at Children's, Avrey had undergone years of intermittent chemotherapy, only to relapse each time the toxic treatments ended.
NEWS
April 2, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
University of Pennsylvania researcher Carl H. June has been selected to receive the 2012 Philadelphia Award for "his extraordinary advancements in gene therapy aimed at treating HIV and cancer. " June and his team recentlyreported that of the first 12 patients treated with the experimental therapy, nine - including two children - had complete or partial remissions from advanced, intractable leukemia. Two adults remain cancer-free two and a half years after treatment. The annual award, which carries a $25,000 honorarium, was created by Ladies Home Journal Editor Edward Bok in 1921 to honor a local person whose work advanced "the best and largest interest" of the greater Philadelphia community.
NEWS
February 23, 2013 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
One of the hot trends in cancer medicine is using tiny particles to deliver drugs directly to a tumor, rather than bombarding the whole body with chemotherapy. But the immune system treats these nanoparticles as foreign invaders, so it tries to clear them before they can do their job. The solution, says a team of University of Pennsylvania researchers, is to make the foreign particles seem like natives. The group reported Thursday it had done just that in lab mice, attaching customized protein fragments to the particles that tricked the animals' immune-system "border guards" into relaxing their vigilance.
NEWS
February 22, 2013 | By Tom Avril, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
One of the hot topics in cancer medicine is using tiny particles to deliver drugs directly to a tumor, rather than bombarding the whole body with chemotherapy. But the immune system treats these nanoparticles as foreign invaders, so it tries to clear them before they do their job. The solution, says a team of University of Pennsylvania researchers, is to make the foreign particles seem like natives. The group reported Thursday they had done just that in lab mice, attaching customized protein fragments to the particles that tricked the animals' immune-system "border guards" into relaxing their vigilance.
NEWS
February 8, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Two months ago, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia made international headlines for using an experimental gene therapy to save the life of a Pennsylvania girl who was dying of leukemia. On Wednesday, the hospital made international headlines - and was denounced on Facebook as "cruel" and "heartless," as being "greedy monsters" and worse - for appearing to tack on hundreds of thousands of dollars to the original price of treating a Croatian child, Nora Situm, 5, with the same breakthrough therapy.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 7, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Two months ago, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia made international headlines for using an experimental gene therapy to save the life of a Pennsylvania girl who was dying of leukemia. On Wednesday, the hospital made international headlines - and was denounced on Facebook as "cruel" "heartless," "greedy monsters" and worse - for appearing to tack on hundreds of thousands of dollars to the original price of treating a Croatian child, Nora Situm, 5, with the same breakthrough therapy.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 4, 2012 | By Mitchell Hecht, For The Inquirer
Question: I was reading a story in the newspaper that the British Medical Journal has accused Roche Pharmaceuticals of failing to provide full access to the research data on Tamiflu. The article said there's really no evidence that Tamiflu can actually stop the flu. Do you agree? Do you recommend that people still take it if they have the flu? Answer: Even if the antiviral treatment for flu works as stated, it only reduces the duration of symptoms in adults (18 to 65) by an average of 1.3 days; by just one day in folks over 65; and by roughly 36 hours in children.
NEWS
October 22, 2012
In a sign of how far the science of cancer genomics has come, the University of Pennsylvania Health System will do genetic tests later this year on cancer cells of all patients with several types of cancer. Penn will test up to 48 genes in patients with melanoma, acute myelogenous leukemia, and brain and lung cancer, said Chi V. Dang, director of the Abramson Cancer Center. The results will reveal which patients could benefit from new drugs that work only for those with certain mutations.
NEWS
August 23, 2012 | ASSOCIATED PRESS
RESEARCHERS have identified a mysterious new disease that has left scores of people in Asia and some in the United States with AIDS-like symptoms even though they are not infected with HIV. The patients' immune systems become damaged, leaving them unable to fend off germs, as healthy people do. What triggers this isn't known, but the disease does not seem to be contagious. This is another kind of acquired immune deficiency that is not inherited and occurs in adults, but doesn't spread the way AIDS does through a virus, said Dr. Sarah Browne, a scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
NEWS
July 13, 2012 | By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer
An existing drug dramatically reduced the most serious complications of bone marrow transplants, University of Pennsylvania researchers are reporting Thursday. The finding could someday point the way toward an entirely new method of preventing the body from "rejecting" transplanted organs of all kinds in the future, experts said. The work demonstrates a possible new approach to transplants of donated bone marrow, said Joseph Antin, a professor of medicine at Harvard, who was not involved with the study.
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