Nick Wilkins was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 4 years old, and when the cancer kept bouncing back, impervious to all the different treatments the doctors tried, his father sat him down for a talk.
John Wilkins explained to Nick, who was by then 14, that doctors had tried chemotherapy, radiation, even a bone marrow transplant from his sister.
"I explained to him that we're running out of options," Wilkins remembers telling his son.
There was one possible treatment they could try: an experimental therapy at the University of Pennsylvania.
He asked his son if he understood what it would mean if this treatment didn't work.
"He understood he could die," Wilkins says. "He was very stoic."
A few months later, Nick traveled from his home in Virginia to Philadelphia to become a part of the experiment.
This new therapy was decidedly different from the treatments he'd received before: Instead of attacking his cancer with poisons like chemotherapy and radiation, the Philadelphia doctors taught Nick's own immune cells to become more adept at killing the cancer.
Two months later, he emerged cancer-free. It's been six months since Nick, now 15, received the personalized cell therapy, and doctors still can find no trace of leukemia in his system.
Trusting her intuition led to two cancer diagnoses
Twenty-one other young people received the same treatment, and 18 of them, like Nick, went into complete remission -- one of them has been disease-free for 20 months. The Penn doctors released their findings this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.
"It gives us hope that this is a cure," Nick's father says. "They're really close. I think they're really onto something."
'A whole new realm of medicine '
At the conference, two other cancer centers -- Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York and the National Cancer Institute -- will be announcing results with immunotherapies like the one Nick received. The results are promising, especially considering that the patients had no success with practically every other therapy.
"This is absolutely one of the more exciting advances I've seen in cancer therapy in the last 20 years," said Dr. David Porter, a hematologist and oncologist at Penn. "We've entered into a whole new realm of medicine."
In the therapy, doctors first remove the patient's T-cells, which play a crucial role in the immune system. They then reprogram the cells by transferring in new genes. Once infused back into the body, each modified cell multiplies to 10,000 cells. These "hunter" cells then track down and kill the cancer in a patient's body.
Essentially, researchers are trying to train Nick's body to fight off cancer in much the same way our bodies fight off the common cold.
UPGRADE: Dendreon (DNDN) upgraded by Maxim Group from Hold to Buy. 10/28 28-Oct-13 08:06:00
Dendreon sale makes sense: Credit Suisse • 8:25 PM
•Does a sale make sense for Dendreon (DNDN)? Credit Suisse apparently thinks so.
•According to market chatter, CS says the sale rumor "is both plausible and sensible [and] would remove a very real scenario of equity holders being wiped out in a debt restructuring."
•Recall that in August, Wedbush predicted there was nothing ahead but a "painful restructuring" and a wipeout for equity investors.
When you think it was just trading at 2.8 and now it is only fractionally up since EU approval and 2 upgrades? I think there will be an early use label expansion and then it will precede the pills. At that point everyone will want to own this company.
Dendreon: Crushed By JNJ/Medivation Or By Own Management?
TESLA couldn't make enough cars. stock will be 1000. Probably going to split the stock now.
Just for the record it was at 3.37 which was the closing price. Who knows if it was at that time or earlier in the day. That said it was a good day of recovery. Love to see a short squeeze..shut those rich guys up!!
Smartest post on the board. Reality the sales did not collapse. Yes they were down as could happen when new medications are around and certainly easier to take. When the wash comes out though Provenge will have the higher marks and the transfusions will be worth it. I also believe Provenge will be used in combination with other drugs but will be the first line of defense by building immune system.
Any relationship or benefit CTRP has by rising PCLN price? Thanks