British scientists say they are in the process of developing an immune therapy based on blood cells from patients who have made "miracle" recoveries from cancer. The scientists believe the breakthrough could lead to a potential cure for millions living with the disease as early as next year.
The technique uses potent cancer-killing cells from people with the strongest immune systems. These 'neutrophil' cells - which form part of the body's first line of defence - are then multiplied millions of times and injected into cancer patients. They are believed to be a key reason why rare individuals spontaneously reject lethal cancers and seem to have 'miracle recoveries'.
The researchers noted that they have found a way to extract the cancer-killing immune cells from donor blood and then multiply them by the million. "We're not talking about simply managing cancer. We're looking at a curative therapy that you would receive once a week over five to six weeks," said Alex Blyth, Chief Executive of LIfT Biosciences — a leading biotech company, that is now preparing for early trials on patients.
A key advantage of neutrophil treatment is that a donor's cells can be given to anyone without fear of serious rejection, Blyth explained. They live in the body for only five days and disappear before the recipient's immune system has got into gear.