Go Science. F#*K Cancer

Woke up with a scratchy throat today and it has worsened over the course of the day into a full blown pharyngitis (throat inflammation). I hate these precursor symptoms for cold since they are more annoying than cold itself. When you have cold, its does not constantly bother you. It just stays in your chest and nasal cavity blocking every possible passage way to your nose and ear, making it difficult to breath and hear properly. That’s it.

But these seriously irritating symptoms that precede cold do nothing but make life miserable to the fullest extent by keeping you in a constant state of discomfort. I have been sneezing throughout the day and my throat feels like rubbing against sand paper. Can we not skip this part and go straight cold – running nose, drowsiness and mucus filled lungs. Seems much more pleasant.

It is times like these when I truly appreciate medical science. They have come up with medicines that can cure or at least relieve the misery a little bit. Today I read about a bad ass medical experiment that could easily be a movie plot by Jerry Bruckheimer. Scientists in University of Pennsylvania have come up with one of the most awesome ways to combat cancer.

T cells are the workers of our body’s immune system. If our body is a country, think of T cells as the security forces. If they detect any intruders (harmful cells like viruses) they swarm in at those outsiders and destroy them. The problem with cancer cells is that they are almost identical as our normal body cells and so T cells are incapable of combating them. U of P medical researchers have now found a way to give T cells the special training required to ‘search and destroy’ cancer cells without affecting normal cells.

Here is the plot. You drain all the T cells out of the patient and store them separately. Then apply gene modification techniques to infuse HIV-1 (yeah, the AIDS virus) DNA into the T cells and allow it replicate into a huge army of super-T cells. Then introduce them back into the patient and now the T cells-with-wolverine-claws kill off cancer cells like Seal Team 6 killed Osama Bin Laden.

If this cannot be made into a movie, I don’t know what to say. This experimental treatment was done to 3 patients who were in the final stages of leukemia and had already exhausted all other treatments including chemo therapy. After this experimental treatment, two of the patients experienced complete remission and still remain relatively healthy. The other patient got partial remission and the doctors say it may have been caused due to some technical difficulties in replicating enough of his T cells. In any case, this experiment provides that much more hope in finding a cure for one of the most deadliest deceases in modern times.

If you are interested in reading the full article, here is the New York Times link. The article has the link to the original paper published in the New England medical journal. Geek out.

As for me, I am going to take a generous amount of NyQuil and hopefully my throat will be more forgiving tomorrow.

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