"Patients on the trial were typically incurable, with an average life expectancy of up to 18 months," John Seymour of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said adding "to see complete clearance of cancer in nearly one quarter of these patients, after taking this single therapy, is incredibly encouraging."

"So far, the phase I study has involved 67 patients, whose cancer was resistant to up to 11 treatment regimes," he said.

As per media reports, in almost 23 per cent of patients the cancer was cleared and a further 61 per cent achieved partial remission having endured an average of four other unsuccessful treatment regimes.

The trials were jointly conducted by Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research here. Seymour said that the trials were still in early stages of development, but its success was unprecedented.

Andrew Roberts of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute said the therapy worked by overcoming the action of a key survival signal within leukaemia (cancerous) cells which allows them to avoid dying.
    
"In many cases, we've seen the number of cancerous lymphocytes simply melt away," he said. Scientists are of the view that similar therapies could help treating other diseases including breast, lung and prostate cancers.

(Agencies)

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