The Nanjing government has released an article that states a patient suffering from recurrent Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (otherwise known as ALL) has been cured following CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptors) therapy at the Jiangsu Provincial Hospital of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).
Through genetic engineering, the patient’s T cells (the lymphoid stem cell, which is derived from bone marrow) were regenerated, “wiping out the tumour through the immune system”. The patient, a Mr. Zhang, had already endured two rounds of chemotherapy before, he says, the therapy “pulled me back from the jaws of death”.
The 49 year old Zhang had caught a sudden fever in October of 2016 and his body temperature soared to 40 degrees celsius. After two rounds of chemo his condition improved but he could no longer continue with treatments due to economic struggles. Severe back pain brought him to Chief Physician Dr. Zhu Xuejun, when it was found that the leukemia cell incidence in Zhang’s bone marrow was up to 81 percent. He was given months to live.
In August 2017, Zhu Xuejun began CAR-T therapy, free of charge, on Mr. Zhang. Side effects included a persistent high fever and chills, yet, he was said to have passed the “dangerous period”. After 3 weeks of treatment, Zhang’s leukemia cells had disappeared completely from his bone marrow.
“I feel good now, I went jogging this morning”, Zhang told reporters. First successful treatments of CAR-T therapy in Nanjing, together with the help of Tsinghua University, began around September of 2015.
CAR-T or chimeric antigen receptors are engineered to graft onto an immune effector cell. The cells are engineered to latch onto cancer cells and dissolve them. It has been hailed the “miracle cure”.