A first in the world cancer treatment produces a dramatic impact on a woman’s life. Doctors in Portland successfully used it to fight a tumor.
Kathy Wilkes had already tried chemo, radiation: all the conventional cancer treatments, but her pancreatic cancer had returned, and she didn’t want to use those methods again. “I had hope that I was going to live,” she said.
The Florida woman contacted Dr. Eric Tran in Portland, about his new type of immunotherapy treatment. Tran and Dr. Ron Leidner at the Providence Cancer Institute in Portland developed a trial using her blood, reprogramming T cells so they’d target the cancer, then infusing 16 billion of them back into her body. It worked. Her tumor shrank 72%. “Here in Portland, first in the world, this is amazing,” said Dr. Tran.
Kathy’s tumor isn’t completely gone, but she’s able to live like she’s cancer free.
Tran and Leidner plan to treat 24 more people over the next two to three years. Their results are in the New England Journal of Medicine.