Designer T cells emerge as weapons against disease

Attempts to boost the immune system against cancer are beginning to pay off

By Susan Gaidos, 21:01 PM May 29, 2014

Doug Olson had all but lost his 14-year battle with leukemia. Exhausted and weakened by chemotherapy, his body no longer responded to any of the handful of drug treatments he had been given over the years. In 2010, his doctors suggested a different strategy: beefing up the disease-fighting immune cells in his body.

Researchers picked out certain immune cells from Olson’s blood, then inserted a virus into the cells. The virus provided new genes that prompt the cells, known as T cells, to attack...

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