‘It’s not possible to cure her anymore’, they fixed the day of death. But Judy shines forth as a star of hope in front of the world, winning over death. The whole medical world is looking with awe at Judy Perkins belonging to Florida state of the America. ‘It’s not possible to cure her anymore’, they fixed the day of death too. But Judy shines forth as a star of hope in front of the world.
Judy perkins is 52 years old. In 2003 it was found that there were some tumours in her lungs and the doctors diagnosed them as cancerous. Gradually those cancerous tumours spread to other part of her body. She was admitted at an intensive care unit and treated. The intensity of tumours considerably minimized. After ten years it again emerged intensively. She was immediately admitted at National Institute of Health, Maryland. With a condition of cancer being spread all over her body, the doctors of the Institute arrived at her day of death, just within three months.
But one of the doctors, Rosenberg, did not lose his confidence. He struggled to save Judy at any cost. So he tried an innovative method not tested till then. He produced white blood corpuscles that impart immunity to the body, in millions. He injected those cells into Judy’s body. Within next few months the impact of the cancer on her body gradually descended. Within a year, Judy was completely cured from cancer.
It was considered as one of the biggest achievements, a kind of medical renaissance, in the field of cancer therapy and the method is called Immunotherapy. This is a process by which the immunity providing cells of the patients suffering from cancer are isolated, cultured in the laboratory conditions, and then administered to the same patients’ body thereby controlling the growth of cancer cells. This method is available only in American and not possible in India yet.
Dr Saravanan Periyasami, Oncologist explains elaborately about the treatment of immunotherapy. “Immunotherapy is not new to the medical world. It has been on research for many years. Its fundamental is the natural antigen activities of our body. These antigens identify the virus and bacteria individually that infect our body. Following that, the natural or innate immunity in our body would kill those viruses and bacteria. In regard to cancer cells, those antigens will function perfectly. But the body will lack immunity to destroy those cancer cells. With that condition, cancer can be cured by enhancing the strength of those immune cells in our body.
It is still at the research level abroad. Right now, only the kind of cancer cells that can produce particular kind of tissues have been established. It is not yet calculated how many white blood cells are required accurately to cure a particular cancer condition. Even if it is calculated, there are problems in producing those cells at the lab. Therefore, it cannot be said that immunotherapy can benefit everyone right now.
Every year, on behalf of the American Society of Cancer, a programme called ASCO has been conducted. Everyone will document each one’s findings and recent efforts towards curing cancer. Judy’s treatment was also registered through that forum. The greatest challenge in immunotherapy is the possibility of rejection of tissues thus produced to enhance immunity by the patients’ body. Even if they are accepted there is a possibility that they may not sometime function appropriately. But Judy did not face both these problems. Keeping her as a reference for treatment the same method could not be recommended for other cancer patients. In the years to come there could be new methods of treatment after the research efforts are made complete. If that happens, it would be a revolution in the medical field.
Currently, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are given to treat cancer. They are very severe and hard on patients. But immunotherapy is a very simple method. Therefore, this therapy is going to be the best treatment to cure cancer. As it may require many years it is better to await with hope and patience”. Dr Saravanan thus concluded.
(This article written by J Nivetha in Tamil has been transcreated in English by V Amalan Stanley)