Cancer research is undoubtedly on the rise. One relatively new method of looking at possible treatments is the use of immunotherapy, where doctors try to use the patient’s own immune system to stave off malignant growth and cancer cells.
This research has suffered a setback recently, however, as 3 patients died as a result of being treated with CAR-T cell therapy by Juno Therapeutics. These patients were hopeful participants in a novel form of immunotherapy called JCAR015, which targets B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Juno attributed the deaths to a chemotherapy drug that was administered pre-CAR-T therapy that was designed to better prepare the body for the introduction of artificially manufactured T-cells.
This is a huge blow for the field of immunotherapy, which many have regarded as a revolutionary treatment for the future in treating cancer patients. Still, I believe that trials should continue, and that biotechnology and biomedical engineering will play a much greater role in healthcare.