Monday, January 4, 2010

I just hope this is possible

Many years ago my son was diagnosed with leukaemia, it wasn't a pleasant time for him as he had to go through chemotherapy and spent almost 6 months in hospital plus a further 2 years on and off being treated for various illnesses as his immune system was devastated by the drugs he had to take to kill it off. There were other side effects too, the stress of one parent or another always being in hospital along side him destroyed the marriage, still, we made good friends there too yet also had to witness the death of many of their children and the misery it wrought on their lives.
We however were lucky my son is fine now, been in remission over 10 years, though it changed my life forever, still I have no regrets now on that part.

A vaccine for leukaemia is about to be tested on human patients for the first time, in a breakthrough which could offer hope to thousands.
British researchers have developed a treatment that can be used to stop the disease returning after chemotherapy or bone marrow transplant.
Eventually it is hoped the drug, which activates the body's own immune system against the leukaemia, could be used to treat other types of cancers.
The first patients will be treated in the New Year as part of a small clinical trial at King's College London.
The patients in the trial have the form known as Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), the most common form in adults. Even with aggressive treatment half would usually find the disease returns.
The idea behind cancer 'vaccines" is not necessarily to prevent the disease. Instead, once a patient has been diagnosed, the 'vaccine' programmes the immune system to hunt down cancer cells and destroy them.
The vaccine then prompts the immune system to recognise leukaemia cells if they return which prevents a relapse of the disease.
The vaccine is created by removing cells from the patient's blood and manipulating them in the laboratory.
The cells are given two genes which act as flags to help identify the leukaemia. It effectively focuses and boosts the immune system's ability to seek out and destroy cancer cells.
This is an incredible breakthrough and a truly brilliant achievement, it will give hope to many and may even lead to more treatments and a far higher rate of recovery. With this treatment lives will no longer be disrupted and destroyed, parents will no longer have to grieve missing children. These doctors are offering hope to so many people and I wish them well and good luck with the trials.


7 annotations:

subrosa said...

Fabulous news right enough QM. It heartens me to hear so much progress has been made in this area.

If such medical research was given more funding for other diseases, do you think they would be able to produce 'cures' more speedily?

I do know in Dundee much is ongoing regarding cancer research and they're world league.

Pleased to hear your son is fine now. Losing a child of any age must be every parents worst nightmare. I know it's mine.

Anonymous said...

Heartening story QM. May 2010 bring continued good health to your lad.

Anonymous said...

Really hope this vaccine works out for everyone QM.

Had a friend a few years ago who wasn't quite so lucky. Didn't quite make her 40th birthday, chemo killed the cancer, but then took her.

Very best of luck to you and your son.

Anonymous said...

Excellent news

opsimath said...

It's a change to read some good news, QM.

God bless all of you and I hope things continue to go well.

James Higham said...

One hopes and some of us pray for him.

English Pensioner said...

I can fully understand how you felt at the time, our daughter had a heart problem and had to be operated on at 15 months.
Yes, she had probably the best surgeon at the time, but techniques were still being developed, and what is a relatively simple, but still serious, operation was then touch and go. Unfortunately, there were more parents there whose children died and one had enormous sympathy for them, and at the same time pleasure that our daughter survived. Very mixed feelings indeed. Luckily she survived the subsequent years of medication and last January presented us with our first grandchild!
I hope things go as well for you.