Gene Therapy Provides Hope for Colon Cancer Patients

A controversial cancer therapy was banned after an eighteen year old patient died while using the experimental treatment in 1999.

Now, the study has resumed and patients are signing up.

It is called gene therapy.

The study was abruptly stopped in 1999, then resumed when it was discovered the patient did not have cancer after all and he died of another illness.

Some patients say they are not worried about the past.

After 25 years of marriage Al and Jeanette Ross tackle her cancer like everything else, together.

The challenge is to find a way to get rid of colon cancer that rapidly spread to Jeanette's liver.

Their solution is an experimental viral gene therapy. Gene Therapy Patient Jeanette Ross says, "They inject the herpes virus, the one that gives you canker sores in your mouth-- they inject that into your liver."

"We can engineer the function of the virus so it can specifically attack a tumor cell,” explains Dr. Tony Reid of UCSD Moores Cancer Center. So far the results are encouraging.

Doctors say in the last five years, they have doubled the mean survival rates for people with colon cancer.


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