In a first-of-its-kind treatment in the country, with proven Japanese methodology, a patient’s own immune cells have been used to destroy cancer of the cervix.
A 58-year-old patient with cancer of the cervix has been treated successfully with AIET (Autologous Immune Enhancement Therapy) by oncologists at Chennai Meenakshi Hospital, jointly with Nichi-In Centre for Regenerative Medicine (NCRM), using the patient’s own immune cells. “The cancer, which had spread to lymph nodes, has totally regressed in the PET scan and the patient is doing well with a good general condition,” said Dr V Krishnamurthy, CEO of Chennai Meenakshi Hospital. “This report has been published in the peer reviewed indexed journal Case Reports in Oncological Medicine.”
Cancer of the cervix ranks third among cancers in women and affects nearly 5.3 lakh in the world. In India around 1.34 lakh suffer from the disease every year, with 72,000 deaths reported annually. “When cervical cancer spreads to the lymph nodes it has a very poor prognosis. Hence AIET is the only option available,” said Dr Sumana Premkumar, consultant radiation oncologist and first author of the paper. “This patient, who had stage IV-A cervical cancer and after radiotherapy developed metastatic lymph nodes, did not have an option for treatment such as surgery or radiotherapy due to her other co-morbid conditions.”
Therefore the patient was given AIET, which uses the patient’s own natural killer cells, the key immune cells that continuously perform surveillance for cancer cells and viruses and curtail budding cancer cells, Dr Krishanmurthy said. “The NK cells were harvested from the patient’s blood and expanded in the NCRM lab and transfused intravenously to destroy the cancer cells. This method of using patients’ own immune cells to treat cancer has been in clinical practice in Japan since the 1990s and the technology for multiplication of NK cells using the patient’s own serum was developed by Dr Hiroshi Terunuma of the Biotherapy Institute of Japan, Tokyo, a co-author of the work.”
He said there was improvement in the quality of life of the patient and after completion of all six cycles of AIET the metastatic lymph nodes regressed totally with no evidence of local lesion in the cervix.
“Early diagnosis and starting novel immune cell based treatment along with conventional treatment is highly recommended for cancer patients,” he pointed out.
NCRM, an Indo-Japan joint venture institute, has been providing AIET for cancer since 2005 and is probably India’s only centre providing Autologous NK cells-based cancer treatment.