Potential breakthrough in cancer treatment - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Potential breakthrough in cancer treatment

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- A potential break through in cancer treatment allows doctors to use DNA to target cancer cells.

The treatment was used in a handful of patients with a very rare leukemia, that chemotherapy failed to treat. Some of the patients were cancer free in weeks, sometimes days.

Doctors removed blood cells from the patients, alter the cells so they target cancer cells, then re-insert the cells in the body.

A hematologist at Gundersen Lutheran, Dr. Craig Cole, says it's like the T-cells are given an address for the cancer cells. Dr. Cole says the technology will likely be used at Gundersen in the future.

"I think the benefits of this we're going to see immediately," Dr. Cole said. "It's a complete shift in the way we think of cancer medicine. Instead of thinking about treating the cancer using chemotherapy and toxins, to use really a, to have an address book of where the cancer lives and how to seek it out and destroy it, without hurting any other cells is not only going to change cancer medicine for people with leukemia but it's going to change everything."

The treatment is very new so long-term effects are unknown, but so far there hasn't been a report of any adverse reactions.

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