Marshall Jensen has been fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia for three years through surgeries, treatments and procedures, but the cancer always returned. Then Marshal Jensen learned about a treatment that has been successful for 9 out of 12 cancer patients. Dr. Carl June of Penn Medicine and his team of researchers have spent 20 years developing a treatment that uses a disabled HIV virus because HIV has the ability to insert new genes into cells. By removing billions of T-cells from cancer patients and altering the DNA in the cells, programming them to recognize, target and kill the cancer, then replace the cells in the patient’s body. Dr. June calls the altered cells serial killers that remain dormant in the body unless the cancer returns. Marshal Jensen returned home according to Tom, Thursday in full remission. Dr. June hopes to use the gene therapy to fight other cancers and trials with pancreatic cancer patients start this summer.
Melanoma cases are increasing by 69 thousand per year and targets adults between the ages of 20 and 60. The researchers are trying to develop a new drug that redirects patients’ immune response to attack cancer from blood (Hematiopoietic) stem cells in patients with advanced forms of aggressive skin cancer malignant melanoma.