Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Very Good News

It looks as though there is now a cure for at least one category of leukemia--88% complete remission via gene therapy. With luck, the approach will prove workable for other forms of leukemia and eventually other cancers. Current cancer treatments are a brute force approach—we may finally be getting something better.

Having lost one friend to leukemia some years ago, another nearly fifty years ago, and three to other cancers, I see this as very good news.


At 11:04 PM, February 26, 2014, Blogger Shaddox said...

The only insufficiency of the argument is that companies do make a killing from some of these, particularly homeopathy.

At 6:09 AM, February 27, 2014, Blogger David R. Henderson said...

David, Was the friend 50 years ago Robert M. Schuchman?

At 9:57 AM, February 27, 2014, Blogger Tibor said...

My (only) cousin died of skin cancer when she was 16 years old. I've never got to know her well, since I was 11 at that time so we would be in a very different stages of our life (and also, I remember she has matured very very fast in her last months...I guess this kind of experience makes you think a lot). I still sometimes wonder what she would be like. Unfortunately, it even severed the connection between our two families, because (that is my impression) I remind my uncle of her and he can't bear that very well. At least my aunt handles that better. And my grandmother stopped celebrating Christmas after it happened. So yes...very good news indeed.

At 2:45 PM, February 27, 2014, Blogger David Friedman said...

David H.: No. Googling around, he died of an embolism. I didn't know that, but remember that it was sudden.

I spent several summers as a councilor at a camp for gifted children. One of them one summer was an 11 year old with the highest IQ in the camp, very bright and very nice. At the end of the summer I said something to him to the effect that we would see each other again sometime, and he replied that he didn't think so. I only discovered later that he had been diagnosed with leukemia, and presumably knew it.

At 9:13 PM, February 27, 2014, Anonymous Tom Courtney said...

So Aelfwyne's case was particularly unfortunate, in that I gather that they were able to identify which version of leukemia he had from gene analysis, and the cure for that particular version was, at the time, good but not great.

I often wonder what's going to happen in the cases where folks can see something around the corner that's going to have a large positive effect on the young-to-middle-aged, but generally miss the old. We might be in such a place now with longevity, but there is at least some amount of speculation there - it isn't clear that your children might live for hundreds of years, though I think it is certainly possible they might.

At 1:23 PM, February 28, 2014, Anonymous RKN said...

Just to be clear, it's not the gene therapy that "cures" this form of ALL. Reading the report, it sounds like gene therapy gets some patients sufficiently into remission status to make them strong enough to become candidates for bone marrow transplant, the only way, so far, to cure ALL, where cure means you won't die from the disease.


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