August 30, 2017 the FDA approved an immune-system based therapy called CTL019 for children and young adults who have relapsed two or more times in treatment for B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This new treatment is based on engineering a patient’s T cells into T (CAR-T) cells. These modified T cells will recognize and kill a person’s unique cancer. Training a patient’s immune system to kill a specific disease is a new frontier in medicine. A single treatment of immunotherapy gives a person cancer fighting cells that can last a lifetime. This is very different from most other cancer therapies which are often given over and over.
Immunotherapy will eventually be used to treat all cancers. Instead of directly targeting the cancer immunotherapy targets the immune system and then the immune system directly attacks the cancer. Believe it or not this is the real deal.