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New treatment may repair immune system of leukaemia patients

New treatment may repair immune system of leukaemia patients
12th December 2011

A way to repair the immune system of leukaemia patients following chemotherapy may have been found by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.

The study revealed that treatment with patient's own cells may prevent infections associated with fludarabine-based chemotherapy, which causes such severe effects on a patient's immune system that it is caused 'AIDS in a bottle'.

Moreover, it is believed that the new treatment method may lead to prolonged remission.

"Fludarabine is a double-edged sword," stated Dr Stephen J Schuster, associate professor in the division of Hematology-Oncology and director of the Lymphoma Program at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center.

"Although it is very active at killing CLL cells, it is also very active at killing normal cells in the immune system, particularly T lymphocytes," he continued.

Fludarabine is believed to work best in conjunction with cyclophosphamide for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

According to researchers, the combination of the treatments greatly increases progression-free survival and response rates, compared with single treatment.

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