A team of researchers at Penn has developed an experimental treatment for leukemia that’s being billed as a “major breakthrough” in the field, the New York Times reported.
The Times profiled one patient — a 7-year-old girl who had relapsed twice after chemotherapy — who underwent the treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Seven months later, she is still in remission, the Times reported.
She is among just a dozen patients with advanced leukemia to have received the experimental treatment, which was developed at the University of Pennsylvania. Similar approaches are also being tried at other centers, including the National Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
“Our goal is to have a cure, but we can’t say that word,” said Dr. Carl June, who leads the research team at the University of Pennsylvania. He hopes the new treatment will eventually replace bone-marrow transplantation, an even more arduous, risky and expensive procedure that is now the last hope when other treatments fail in leukemia and related diseases.