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This experimental therapy marks an entirely new way to treat cancer – if scientists can make it work, safely. Early stage studies are stirring hope as onetime infusions of supercharged immune cells help a remarkable number of patients with intractable leukemia or lymphoma.Currently available only in studies at major cancer centers, the first CAR-T cell therapies for a few blood cancers could hit the market later this year.Now scientists are tackling a tougher next step, what Haining calls "the acid test": Making T cells target more common cancers – solid tumors like lung, breast or brain cancer. Cancer kills about 600,000 Americans a year, including nearly 45,000 from leukemia and lymphoma.For many leukemias and lymphomas, that's an antigen named CD19 .Small, early studies in the U.S. made headlines as 60 to 90 percent of patients trying CAR-Ts as a last resort for leukemia or lymphoma saw their cancer rapidly decrease or even become undetectable. A review reported up to half of leukemia and lymphoma patients may relapse.If the FDA approves Novartis' or Kite's versions, eligible leukemia and lymphoma patients would be treated at cancer centers experienced with this tricky therapy.
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