Gene therapy to fight a blood cancer succeeds in major study

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An experimental gene therapy that turns a patient's own blood cells into specialized cancer killers has passed a key test.

Doctors announced Tuesday that more than one-third of very sick lymphoma patients who got the one-time treatment showed no sign of disease six months later. The treatment involves filtering patients' blood to remove millions of immune system warriors called T-cells, altering them in the lab to add a gene that targets cancer, and returning them to the patient intravenously.

Kite Pharma, the California company that sponsored the 101-patient study, hopes to become the first to win U.S. approval of the treatment, called CAR-T therapy.

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