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T Cells

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NEWS
December 9, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Three years ago, University of Pennsylvania researchers wondered whether their early success with a novel immune therapy was the dawn of a revolution in cancer treatment - or a fluke. Now they know the answer, and so do other experts in the cautious world of medical science. Penn and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Saturday reported the results from 59 adults and children who received a gene therapy engineered from their own disease-fighting T cells to treat recurrent, intractable leukemia.
NEWS
March 22, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nora Situm, the 5-year-old Croatian girl whose homeland raised money for her to seek experimental leukemia therapy at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, died early Wednesday while the tailor-made treatment was still being produced. "We are very sorry for the loss of Nora Situm, and express our deepest sympathies to her parents, family, and many friends and supporters in Croatia," the hospital said in a statement. "During the time Nora was in our care, we were in awe of the tremendous courage and spirit displayed by her and her parents.
NEWS
February 6, 1993 | By Huntly Collins, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Pennsylvania Department of Health yesterday suspended its month-old policy that asked medical labs across the state to report the names of people with low counts of white blood cells. The action followed widespread criticism of the policy by AIDS activists, who contended that it was an illegal breach of privacy under state law. Earlier this week, the Philadelphia Health Department, which oversees labs within city limits, said it would not comply with the policy. "The questions and concerns about confidentiality certainly played a role in our decision" to suspend the policy, said Kathy Leibler, spokeswoman for the state Health Department.
NEWS
January 6, 2014 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
A new biotech company with formidable founders and funding has joined a lawsuit that accuses the University of Pennsylvania of misappropriating key technology behind its breakthrough therapy for leukemia. The company, Juno Therapeutics Inc., was launched early last month by three major cancer institutes - including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center - with a massive $120 million investment from leading venture capital firms. Juno's debut ups the ante in the high-stakes race to commercialize novel therapies that use the patient's immune "T cells" to fight cancer.
NEWS
April 10, 2015 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
When researchers talk about the new, mostly experimental form of cancer treatment known as immunotherapy, they often use glowing terms like revolutionary and transformative. Last week's PBS documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies was another example of this. The third and final episode told how many scientists believe that the body's innate defense system is the only weapon adaptable enough to conquer the mutating malignant cells. But harnessing the immune system to launch a self-attack can be highly toxic, even deadly.
NEWS
March 3, 2011 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
In a feat that is renewing hopes for conquering AIDS, researchers have genetically engineered patients' vital immune cells to make them resistant to HIV infection. To confer this invulnerability, scientists took the immune cells from HIV-positive patients' own blood, then snipped out a single gene - the first time such a precise alteration has been achieved on a meaningful scale. When put back in the patient, the cells no longer make a receptor that HIV needs to enter the cell, effectively blocking the virus.
NEWS
December 11, 2012 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
A 7-year-old pixie named Emily Whitehead has erased any remaining doubts about the power of a University of Pennsylvania gene therapy to eradicate certain blood cancers. The therapy is personalized using each patient's immune system "T cells. " Three weeks after Emily's infusion in April, she was completely free of the leukemia that had been on the verge of killing her. Just as important, she showed that the T cell therapy can have catastrophic side effects, and pointed the way for her doctors to find an antidote.
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
December 9, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
From the outset of the study in April 2012, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was in uncharted territory. So were the parents who consented to give their terminally ill offspring an experimental gene therapy for leukemia. But the little children - 22 and counting - have shown them the way. The first child, as the world learned a year ago, was Emily Whitehead of Philipsburg, Pa. She demonstrated that the bioengineered T cells can have catastrophic side effects, and pointed the way for her doctors to find an antidote drug.
LIVING
July 19, 1999 | By Faye Flam, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Patients who receive bone-marrow transplants often get sick and occasionally die because the immune cells in the transplanted marrow attack the healthy cells of the patient. It's a backward kind of rejection in which the grafted cells reject the patient's body, rather than the other way around. But now, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania have found a possible way around the problem - temporarily disabling a type of immune cell (ATC) that normally signals the presence of an invading pathogen or cancer.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
April 10, 2015 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
When researchers talk about the new, mostly experimental form of cancer treatment known as immunotherapy, they often use glowing terms like revolutionary and transformative. Last week's PBS documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies was another example of this. The third and final episode told how many scientists believe that the body's innate defense system is the only weapon adaptable enough to conquer the mutating malignant cells. But harnessing the immune system to launch a self-attack can be highly toxic, even deadly.
NEWS
June 2, 2014 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
Physicians have known for years that vaccines do not work as well in people who are suffering from a chronic infection such as malaria. Likewise, people with one kind of chronic infection tend to be more vulnerable to a second one. A new study led by University of Pennsylvania researchers fingers a key culprit in these breakdowns of the immune system: chronic inflammation. The research, published last month in the journal Immunity, reveals how long-term inflammation from one infection impairs the ability of infection-fighting T cells to form memories of any additional invaders - thereby hampering the immune system's ability to recognize and attack those invaders on future occasions.
NEWS
March 7, 2014 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
University of Pennsylvania researchers have snipped out a single gene in patients' immune cells to make them partly resistant to infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The study, in this week's New England Journal of Medicine, bolsters hope for controlling HIV without daily antiviral drugs - a so-called functional cure. But even more important, as the first paper to report the modification of an exact spot in human DNA, it marks the arrival of the age of gene editing.
NEWS
January 6, 2014 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
A new biotech company with formidable founders and funding has joined a lawsuit that accuses the University of Pennsylvania of misappropriating key technology behind its breakthrough therapy for leukemia. The company, Juno Therapeutics Inc., was launched early last month by three major cancer institutes - including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center - with a massive $120 million investment from leading venture capital firms. Juno's debut ups the ante in the high-stakes race to commercialize novel therapies that use the patient's immune "T cells" to fight cancer.
NEWS
December 9, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Three years ago, University of Pennsylvania researchers wondered whether their early success with a novel immune therapy was the dawn of a revolution in cancer treatment - or a fluke. Now they know the answer, and so do other experts in the cautious world of medical science. Penn and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Saturday reported the results from 59 adults and children who received a gene therapy engineered from their own disease-fighting T cells to treat recurrent, intractable leukemia.
NEWS
December 9, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
From the outset of the study in April 2012, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was in uncharted territory. So were the parents who consented to give their terminally ill offspring an experimental gene therapy for leukemia. But the little children - 22 and counting - have shown them the way. The first child, as the world learned a year ago, was Emily Whitehead of Philipsburg, Pa. She demonstrated that the bioengineered T cells can have catastrophic side effects, and pointed the way for her doctors to find an antidote drug.
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
March 26, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Aaron and Christal Walker live in dread that their daughter will get sick, and in dread that she won't. Six days ago, Avrey Walker, 9, of Redmond, Ore., became the seventh child to receive an experimental gene therapy for leukemia at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She will soon suffer several days of fevers, nausea, headaches, maybe worse - if the therapy works as it should, marshalling her immune T cells to fight her cancer. Four of the first five children to undergo treatment and get lab results are cancer-free, according to their families and doctors.
NEWS
March 22, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nora Situm, the 5-year-old Croatian girl whose homeland raised money for her to seek experimental leukemia therapy at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, died early Wednesday while the tailor-made treatment was still being produced. "We are very sorry for the loss of Nora Situm, and express our deepest sympathies to her parents, family, and many friends and supporters in Croatia," the hospital said in a statement. "During the time Nora was in our care, we were in awe of the tremendous courage and spirit displayed by her and her parents.
NEWS
March 4, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nora Situm, the 5-year-old Croatian child seeking experimental leukemia therapy at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, has overcome the first obstacle to qualify for the treatment. Doctors have collected a big-enough supply of her T cells, the immune cells that form the basis of the therapy, said Richard Aplenc, Nora's oncologist. The update came in a video statement released Friday by the hospital and Nora's mother, Giana Atanasovska, and father, Ivica Situm. Nora's arrival at Children's on Feb. 7 was the subject of controversy here and in Croatia because of a misunderstanding over the cost of the treatment.
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