Capn Design

Using HIV's Logic, Doctor's Come Closer to Cancer Cure

The concept has been around since the 80s, but a team at UPenn have found a way to beat leukemia and lymphoma (in medical studies) by harnessing HIV’s ability to invite your T-cells. Unlike HIV, it doesn’t destroy them but teach them to fight cancer. Rarely am I giddy at the prospect of tricking mother nature, but this one puts a smile on my face. We just have to be really careful.

Engineered T-cells have attacked healthy tissue in patients at other centers. Such a reaction killed a 39-year-old woman with advanced colon cancer in a study at the National Cancer Institute, researchers there reported last year in the journal Molecular Therapy.

She developed severe breathing trouble 15 minutes after receiving the T-cells, had to be put on a ventilator and died a few days later. Apparently, a protein target on the cancer cells was also present in her lungs, and the T-cells homed in on it.