A New Leukaemia Treatment Will Genetically Change Your Cells

Novartis, a Switzerland-based healthcare company, has unveiled what promises to be a ground-breaking new drug for some leukaemia patients. The standard cancer treatments include radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, but some new options have entered the market in recent years. Some drugs target specific molecular changes, like Imatinib Mesylate, while others, like Novartis’ drug, target the immune system.

Called “a living drug,” Novartis’ Kymriah uses CAR T-cell therapy to genetically alter a patient’s own immune cells so they can destroy tumor cells just like viruses. After the success of smaller trials, Novartis funded a larger trial, and the majority of patients treated with CAR T-cell therapy went into remission. Based on these results, Food and Drug Administration approved the drug tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) in August for childhood acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL). How does CAR T-cell therapy work? T cells, or T lymphocytes, are types of white blood cells located in the immune system. The many different kinds of T cells can Read more

Tick saliva could help keep hearts healthier in people with HIV

HIV Blood Testing

HIV research and treatments have evolved leaps and bounds in the past decades but researchers continue to dedicate time and resources to helping increase both quality of life and life expectancy for those who contract the virus. Researchers have recently developed an experimental drug derived from deer tick salvia that could significantly decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Individuals with HIV develop a higher risk of both neurological and cardiovascular medical issues because the immunodeficiency virus causes higher levels of monocytes, a type of white blood cell. These cells directly influence the “tissue factor” (TF) protein, which triggers blood clotting and dangerous inflammation – even when an individual is controlling their HIV virus rigorously by antiretrovirals. The scientists have developed an experimental drug called Ixolaris which contains extracts from saliva of a type of ticks found on deer. It was first tested on monkeys who had been infected with SIV, the primate equivalent of human HIV virus. They discovered Read more