Doug Olson has been cancer-free for 11 years now after undergoing CAR-T Therapy, a success story so exceptional that it was highlighted in the medical journal Nature and has paved the way for thousands of other cancer patients to be treated.
CBN News reported that the probability of Olson facing death from a blood cancer called chronic lymphocytic leukemia was high until he bravely said yes to the experimental treatment called CAR-T Therapy developed by the University of Pennsylvania, thinking he had nothing anymore to lose.
Five weeks after receiving the treatment, Olson heard his doctor declare that there wasn't a single cancer cell found on his body. Eleven years after and now 75 years old, Olson is in his best state, cancer-free, enjoying the second life God has given him with family and loved ones.
CAR-T Therapy: A Game-Changer
CAR-T Cell Therapy uses "boosted" immune system to fight cancer. Briefly defined by Penn Medicine, it is "a type of immunotherapy used to fight cancer with altered immune cells. These specially altered white blood cells, called T cells, are modified to find and attack cancer cells in the body."
As explained by Olson in his interview, his own white blood cells were taken and scientists added "receptors to them that allow the cells to bind to invading cancer cells and kill them."
Ahmed Galal, MD, FRACP, MSc, Duke Blood Cancer Center's cellular therapy specialist, hematologic oncologist, and hematologist said that the treatment is a game-changer. He said that the therapy is given to patients when other treatments fail, and the results are nothing but pleasing, with a 45% positive outcome for the past 5 years.
"Now, these are the latest studies showing the duration of response is actually extending and is not coming down," he said. "So I think eventually this will be a cure."
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For Another Patient, The Therapy Is A 'Miracle'
"There was nothing left to do but allow Emily to die peacefully." These were the heartbreaking words uttered to parents Tom and Kari Whitehead about their then 6-year-old daughter who's battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
But they never gave up. They were praying and desperately looking for a miracle when they were led to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and they found it.
Their daughter, Emily, became the first child to ever receive the revolutionary CAR-T Therapy. Now, 17 years old and living a normal adolescent life, with her driver's license and dreams on hand, Emily has been cancer-free for 10 long years. Indeed, the most beautiful miracle the Whiteheads ever got.
Ongoing research and trials are still being done with the aim of CAR-T therapy to possibly treat pancreatic and lung cancers and brain tumors, which are some of the deadliest diseases today because even if CAR-T therapy has paved the way for a "revolutionary cure" for certain types of blood cancers, it's effectivity does not work against other cancers. Yet, there is a bright promise that this can change, doctors said.
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