Seattle cancer trial ‘very good news’ for young patients

More than 90 percent of children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, are in remission after treatment as part of a promising Seattle Children’s clinical trial, researchers reported.

A year ago, Meagan Mullanix was waiting to see whether the experimental therapy would work, whether her own genetically reprogrammed immune-system cells could truly target and destroy the cancer that nearly killed her.

Today, the 23-year-old returning college student is cancer-free, with no evidence of the acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, that first struck when she was 17, and then came raging back — even after chemotherapy treatments and a bone-marrow transplant.

“I’m feeling great. I’m coming up on my year on April 25 and it looks like I’ll make it,” said Mullanix, one of the first patients enrolled in a Seattle Children’s clinical trial that uses genetically modified T-cells, a form of white blood cell, to target the deadly cancer in patients from toddlers to young adults.

Of 22 participants in the trial that began in January 2014, 20 have achieved complete remission, according to tests designed to detect minute traces of cancer cells…

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