Advances in cancer treatment

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In this photo taken March 28, 2017, research technician Ashwini Balakrishnan works in the immunotherapy research lab of Dr. Stanley Riddell at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

In this photo taken March 28, 2017, research technician Ashwini Balakrishnan works in the immunotherapy research lab of Dr. Stanley Riddell at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Guests: Stephan Grupp, Robert Vonderheide

The FDA just announced approval of the first gene therapy treatment. The treatment is for a type of childhood leukemia and is what scientists call a “living drug” because it uses the patient’s own immune cells to fight and kill the cancer.  Novartis is manufacturing the immunotherapy but it was developed at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania. This hour, we’ll talk about these advances with STEPHAN GRUPP, director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who was a lead investigator on the drug trials, and ROBERT VONDERHEIDE, director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

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