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So I admit that I'm a Grey's Anatomy watcher. This past year the show had some twists and turns that were really interesting and imagine my surprise when I found that art actually imitated life. In Episode 23 of the show, a boy with no immune system is given back his ability to be out of his bubble by using a genetically engineered version of the HIV virus.  Essentially, he was able to live a normal life because the virus gave him the ability to fight off every day germs.

My other admission is that I find certain aspects of science completely fascinating! Then I came across this article on Focus Forward Films.  There is new ground-breaking cancer research team University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia headed by Dr. Carl June.  They are using the HIV virus to attack leukemia cancer cells. As of January of this year, there are four reported cases that the team has worked on with significant success.  Three patients went into remission and one had partial remission. All subjects were in situations where the chemotherapy was no longer effective.

According to the New York Times article, "The University of Pennsylvania team seems to have hit all the targets at once. Inside the patients, the T-cells modified by the researchers multiplied to 1,000 to 10,000 times the number infused, wiped out the cancer and then gradually diminished, leaving a population of “memory” cells that can quickly proliferate again if needed."

There is a lot more research and studies to be tested, of course. This is all experimental at this point.  The promising fact is that if these studies continue to show promising results, a cure for various forms of cancer could be genetically engineered in our lifetime.  Very exciting!


Posted: Monday, June 23, 2014 8:02 AM by Dean's Team
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