Changing the course for care means we must always stay ahead, pioneering scientific advancements and new treatments. This commitment to innovation has led UNC Lineberger to emerge as a national leader in numerous new areas that at one time would have been considered science-fiction.
However, the reason we invest in such advancements isn’t simply to push the boundaries of discovery; it’s for the promise of better outcomes and improved lives after cancer. In January 2016, 60 year-old Ian Dale was diagnosed with an aggressive form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Despite undergoing traditional treatments, the chemotherapy and radiation couldn’t stop his cancer from relapsing. For Dale, the UNC Bone Marrow and Cellular Therapy Program offered a last ray of hope in the form of a clinical trial; one that genetically alters his immune cells (T-cells) to recognize and destroy cancer cells with limited side effects. Dale, who is now officially in remission, is living proof that cellular immunotherapy shows great promise.
“I have a whole new lease on life. I’m here when I probably wouldn’t be,” says Dale. “I actually had a scan and was given the all clear. I’m officially a survivor.”
UNC Lineberger is now one of only a few centers nationally to have the capabilities to develop and deliver this line of treatment. Trials are in the works for up to a half dozen types of cancer that could respond to this type of treatment. Immunotherapy represents the powerful future of cancer treatment, and we are helping to lead the way— and more important, clear the path to survival for patients.
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