Even though it will still take a couple more years before the drug will be fully approved in the US, the new cancer treatment in the form of a shot was approved by FDA, with said treatment passing its first phase. But it is worth noting that this shot does not cure cancer, it merely makes it chronic instead of an acute deadly disease, similar to treatments administered to patients suffering from hypertension or diabetes. It is basically a form of controlling the disease.
The vaccine is created by extracting tumor cells from the patient and modifying them in order to be picked up by the body’s immune system. After the process is complete, the cells are injected back into the patient on a monthly basis. This form of treatment is, simply put, a form of immunotherapeutic vaccine, allowing the patient’s own immune system to no longer ignore cancerous cells, attacking them similar to how a cold or a flu virus is attacked.
One of the patients that participated in the clinical trials of the treatment, Carly Rutledge, has been suffering from bone cancer since the age of 15. Her diagnostic came with intense chemotherapy sessions that in some cases even lasted for five days at a time.
In a statement released to CBS News, she described the new treatment as completely opposite to regular chemotherapy, requiring her to simply go to the clinic, take a shot and leave, without any of the usual side effects caused by chemotherapeutic drugs. After several months of treatments, her cancer is currently in remission, with no adverse side effects from the immunotherapeutic treatment what-so-ever.
Another case revolved around the patient Grover Cummings. He was the first patient that got the shot, basically sparking FDA’s increased interest in this new form of cancer treatment. He came to the Baylor Hospital Cancer Clinic almost 20 years ago, being diagnosed with cancer just before his daughter’s wedding. He is now alive and healthy, being completely cancer free and is currently the proud grandfather of a 16-year-old girl.
This wouldn’t have been possible if regular chemotherapy treatments would have been used. Chemotherapy has severe side effects that may differ from individual to individual. Stomach pains, loss of hair, extreme vomiting episodes and diarrhea, nausea, chronic headaches, and migraines, are just a few of the possible side effects.
The Baylor Hospital from the state of Texas is the first clinic where this shot will undergo public clinical trials. But this will change alongside the increase in approval rates associated to this newly found type of treatment, with more and more clinics joining the fray.
Because the new cancer treatment in the form of a shot was approved by FDA, with trials being already available at the Baylor Hospital, families from around the world have applied to take the shot. For example, the Baron family has flown in from Italy in order to treat their son, without any other promising treatments being made available in Europe.