Clinicians have used a T-cell receptor therapy to treat a patient with advanced pancreatic cancer, the Associated Press reports. Pancreatic cancer, the New York Times notes, is difficult to treat and has a five-year survival rate of about 10 percent.
In a case report appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team from the Providence Cancer Institute in Oregon describes how they obtained T cells from the patient and reprogrammed them to target the mutant KRAS expressed by the patients' tumors. The patient received one dose of the treatment and, after six months, had an overall partial response of 72 percent. The patient, Kathy Wilkes, additionally tells the AP that a recent checkup shows her disease to be stable.
"It's really exciting. It's the first time this sort of treatment has worked in a very difficult-to-treat cancer type," Josh Veatch from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who was not involved in the treatment, tells the AP.
The result further suggests that similar treatments could be adapted for other cancer types, Eric Rubin, the editor in chief of NEJM, says, according to the Times.
However, Veatch notes at the AP that another pancreatic cancer patient received a similar treatment, but that it did not work, underscoring the need for more research.