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US researchers have been given the go-ahead to give patients transfusions of “super strength” cancer-killing cells from donors.
Dr Zheng Cui, of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, has shown in laboratory experiments that immune cells from some people can be almost 50 times more effective in fighting cancer than in others.
Dr Cui, whose work is highlighted in this week’s New Scientist magazine, has previously shown cells from mice found to be immune to cancer can be used to cure ordinary mice with tumours.
The work raises the prospect of using cancer-killing immune system cells called granulocytes from donors to significantly boost a cancer patient’s ability to fight their disease, and potentially cure them.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week gave Dr Cui permission to inject super-strength granulocytes into 22 patients.