What do we political geeks read and write about every day? Obama, the Democrats, the establishment Republicans. It's domestic politics, foreign policy, or something that has to do with government – and usually how bad it is, how big it is, or oppressive or expensive.
Frankly, sometimes it gets to be too much for anyone. But that's what we do. That's what we feel we must do to stay ahead of the curve – to stay ahead of the oppressors.
But, every once in a while, you find a feel-good story that not only gives you hope but really makes you think.
Ashley Collman at MailOnline reported that a 30-year-old man was recently cured of cancer.
Okay, that's wonderful, but it's happening more and more every year. Yes, that's true, but not with the treatment that a Utah man, Marshall Jensen received.
He was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer, in 2012. Collman writes that "Jensen, wife Amanda and their young son, Kezman, have been traveling the country ever since he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2012, just one year after their marriage, searching for an effective treatment for his cancer."
The Jensen's search was unsuccessful until they met Dr. Carl June at Penn Medicine, part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia.
And what is this breakthrough treatment? It's HIV – the deadly virus that causes AIDS. Yes, you read that right.
As it is in many of these breakthroughs, it was discovered almost by accident. Collman writes: "The connection between leukemia and HIV was first discovered in 2006, when an HIV-positive man named Timothy Wood was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. After receiving a bone marrow transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation, Wood's cancer went into remission and the HIV disappeared from his system making him the first man to ever be fully cured of the virus."
Dr. June and his colleagues began feverishly working on a cancer treatment based on what they learned. When successfully developed, the new treatment was given to 30 patients of whom Jensen was one.
Here's how it works: "The patients who received the treatment had billions of T-cells extracted from their bodies, which were taken to a lab and implanted with the deactivated HIV. The reprogrammed HIV 'killer cells' are then put back into the body to kill the cancer, and then remain dormant in case the cancer reappears," writes Collman.
Dr. June says there is no fear of contracting AIDS from this treatment. He explains that the HIV is a stripped-down or "disabled virus, but it retains the one essential feature of HIV, which is the ability to insert new genes into cells."
In other words, the HIV is actually reprogrammed to target and kill only the cancer. Astounding!
Collman reports that of the 30 patients – five adults and 25 children, 23 are still alive in 19 are in remission. Jensen is one of the 19 and has since been pronounced cancer-free.
These trials were so successful that June and his team will be starting trials on other aggressive cancers such as pancreatic.
So who'd a thunk it? One killer reprogrammed to kill another. It's like the evil Terminator being reprogrammed to save the good guy.
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