In an attempt to cure cancer, doctors have resorted to injecting terminal patients with the HIV virus in an last ditch effort to save lives.
The patients in the clinical trials have no options left as they are in the terminal stages of the various diseases afflicting them. Patients like 6 year old Emma, whose leukemia came back twice. According to Dr. Carl H. June, scientists have been able to train the immune system to recognize and terminate tumor cells.
The theory is healthy T-cells are collected and then injected with a virus that will alter their genetics to allow them to recognize the leukemia cells. The virus they have been using is a strain of HIV. The virus has been engineered in a way that it does not infect the patient with HIV, but it still has the capacity to reprogram the immune system such that it will attack cancer cells. Doctors call these modified cells “Serial Killer Cells” which hone in on the tumor cells in the body and destroy them.
The treatments are still very much in the early experimental stages and are not guaranteed to work. After Emma was injected with the virus she took a turn for the worse developing blood pressure issues, and respiratory problems. and pushed her to the brink of death. But as the T-cells started to grow they began to fight the cancer and within hours she began to show signs of improvement. Amazingly, when she woke up there were no signs of leukemia. Emma leads a normal life today thanks to the treatments. Dr. June and his team continue the fight to find a cure but if this miracle of science is any future indication of what they can accomplish we might very well see a true cure someday soon.