Last week was an incredibly exciting and encouraging week for cancer research. In case you missed it we wanted to bring this news to your attention:
“In the research published Wednesday, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania say the treatment made the most common type of leukemia completely disappear in two of the patients and reduced it by 70 percent in the third. In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone.”
The treatment is a type of immunotherapy which redirects T-cells to attack cancer cells with minimal side effects. This T-cell therapy is the same approach that immunotherapy pioneer Dr. Michael Jensen is taking at Seattle Children’s new Center for Childhood Cancer Research.
Here is what Dr. Jensen had to say in reponse:
Here is a critical detail:
“Both the National Cancer Institute and several pharmaceutical companies declined to pay for the research. Neither applicants nor funders discuss the reasons an application is turned down. But good guesses are the general shortage of funds and the concept tried in this experiment was too novel and, thus, too risky for consideration.
The researchers did manage to get a grant from the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, a charity founded by Barbara and Edward Netter after their daughter-in-law died of cancer. The money was enough to finance the trials on the first three patients.”
Private philanthropy made this happen. Ben Towne Foundation has partnered with the Center for Childhood Cancer Research for exactly this purpose—to bring this kind of radical new treatment to children. Dr. Jensen and the Center are working on therapies that will change the way pediatric cancers are treated and cured.
Thank you for your investment in this incredible work.