Leukemia is cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, as well as the bone marrow and the lymphatic structure. Many forms of leukemia exist. Some forms of leukemia are more frequent in children. While other forms of leukemia mostly take place in adults.
Leukemia typically consists of the white blood cells. Your white blood cells are powerful infection fighters — they generally grow and divide in a systematic way, as your body needs them. But in people with leukemia, the bone marrow yields abnormal white blood cells, which don’t function appropriately.
Treatment for leukemia can be difficult — depending on the form of leukemia and other aspects. But there are approaches and other means that can help to make your treatment effective.
Conventional approaches for handling such diseases, including the 200 or so cancer variations that are known to science, typically involve taking drugs or undergoing procedures that do what your own body cannot. Gene therapy has come along and, in spite of being an emerging medical field, has changed everything.
Through an array of different procedures, the genes of the patients own cells are modified with breath-taking precision using synthetic viruses or CRISPR; these augmented cells are then reinstated back into their bodies and their immune systems do the rest of the work. Trialed all over the world, this sort of treatment is shown to cure children of seemingly incurable blood cancer, nullify someone’s sickle cell disease, and more.
Up until this point, gene treatment like this has continued experimental, meaning that it was only accessible to people taking part in a clinical trial. As reported by The New York Times, however, this is to no longer be the case: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is about to formally give the go-ahead for gene healing to be put on the market for the very first time.
In this case, the treatment will be used to treat people suffering from a belligerent type of blood cancer named B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It will be made accessible to children and young adults aged between three and 25 who have been momentarily cured of the disease only to find that it has returned with revenge.
The procedure will be patient specific: Their own cells will be sent off to be changed, frozen, then sent back to be reinstated into the patient at a later date.
Gene therapy treatment has been used on a variety of children across the world to cure them of this form of leukemia. Even though they suffered from quite severe side effects, they were not life-threatening and, most importantly, these kids are cancer-free years on.
A family of the first child to have ever been treated this way, Emily Whitehead, were present at the FDA panel discussing whether or not to approve the treatment for conventional medical use. Apart from different testimonies, a key study showing that this technique pushes 82.5 percent of patients into remission was also considered.
The board was seemingly convinced that these gene remedies work where other treatments fail and that thousands of children’s lives will be saved if it’s accepted, so they unanimously recommended that it should be available. It’s now definite that the FDA leaders will green light the treatment.
Even though there are still questions about possibly risky long-term effects of the practice, this verdict is a landmark one, opening up a brand new world in the battle against cancer, and giving optimism to thousands of children around the world.
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