Highlighted research at the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy convention is already improving lives.
One clinical trial uses an engineered small pox vaccine in liver cancer patients that can attack, blow up and destroy deadly cells. It’s proven to help those originally given just three months to live.
“The high dose patients had a median survival of 14 months, so over a year and about a quarter of those patients were alive for three years, so it's really exciting,” said Dr. Erica Sommermann, who worked on the product developed by Jennerex.
In another clinical trial with leukemia patients, researchers are using modified cells to perform a “seek and destroy mission”-- killing tumors.
“There's reason to be optimistic,” said Dr. David Porter of the University of Pennsylvania. “There's a lot of hope out there, cancer therapies are changing dramatically.”
There's also hope for those suffering form hemophilia, a spontaneous bleeding disorder that requires inconvenient injections. New research has found patients may only need one injection to be cured.
“They should be able to have their blood clot in response to trauma normally and can go about their lives and do the physical activities that they would like to do,” said Andrew Davidoff, of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
It's all exciting advancements, but ones only available in clinical trials, not yet approved by the FDA. Researchers encourage patients to ask their doctors about trials if conventional treatment isn't working.