Cancer is made up of many different kinds of cells. We have cancer stem cells, but we also have cells which are differentiating when they are dividing. Chemotherapy/radiation therapy is designed to kill cells if they are dividing, but the cancer stem cells that are not dividing are not touched by these treatments. Tumors will shrink, so it will look as though the patient is making progress, but actually curing the patient of the cancer requires a different approach.
Using the body’s immune system to kill cancer:
Our clinical protocol is based on a 1999 study conducted at Wake Forest University by Dr. Zheng Cui. Dr. Cui discovered a cancer resistant mouse. No matter how Dr. Cui attempted to infect this mouse with cancer, he couldn’t do it, the mouse’s immune system was just too strong. Forty percent of this mouse’s descendants inherited the same significant cancer resistance. The white blood cells of these mice were able to seek out and destroy cancer cells not only in cell cultures, but also in living mice. Dr. Cui designed a test to measure this Cancer-Killing Activity, called CKA, and used those cells from cancer resistant mice to cure other mice with cancer. Further investigation showed that high levels of CKA granulocytes were also found in the white blood cells of some healthy people, specifically in the immune systems of young healthy humans around the age of eighteen to twenty-five.
White cell infusion therapy essentially translates the basis of Dr. Cui’s discovery into humans. Instead of using white cells from mice whose immune system prevented them from developing cancer, we’re using the white cells taken from the immune systems of twenty year olds. If you take a twenty year old and you look at the incidence of cancer versus a seventy year old, a seventy year old has a one-hundred times greater risk of cancer. That’s because the immune system of young healthy donors are so much stronger. In theory, this study treatment may have the ability to supercharge the immune system using carefully cross-matched cancer-killing granulocytes donated by healthy young donors.
Although there really isn't a set upper age limit, we're focusing on healthy donors ages 18-25. After completing an informed consent, a sample of the applicant's blood is screened. We check for blood types, HLA types, infectious disease status, as well as submitting the potential donor to a physical examination. The selected volunteers would then become part of the Donor Registry.
When a patient is ready to begin the treatment, granulocytes from several matched donors in the Donor Registry would be “mobilized.” Two FDA approved medications are administered to the donor the day prior to white cell collection. These medications safely release high amounts of white cells from the donor’s bone marrow. The next day – the actual day of the infusion procedure -- the donor would be hooked up to a machine to collect these excess white cells through a well-established medical procedure called apheresis. An apheresis machine separates donor granulocytes from other blood products that are immediately returned to the donor so that the health impact on granulocyte donation is much smaller than that of a typical blood donation. Granulocyte mobilization and collection by apheresis have been used in clinical practices for a long time with very good safety record. The patient will receive four infusions over a two week period (may vary) with monitoring completed every thirty days, leading up to follow-up CT scans at the 90 day mark. If you would like to learn how to become a donor for this clinical trial please visit: http://www.bmscti.org/clinicaltrials.htm.