Transcript for New breakthroughs in cancer research
Next tonight, the fda has proved a radically new way to fight cancer. Directing the immune cells to fight the cancer cells. The approval is to treat a blood cancer, but there is hope it could be used for other cancers as well. ABC's Linzie Janis with the first patient to ever receive this treatment. Reporter: Tonight a new frontier in the fight against cancer. For the first time ever, the fda approving a genetically engineered immune therapy for young patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It works by taking a patient's own immune cells, re-programming them, then sending them back into the body to destroy cancer. Most of these patients remain in remission years later. And so that makes us think maybe that's actually a potential cure for some of our kids, and that's very exciting to us. Reporter: 12-year-old Emily whitehead was the first child to receive the treatment developed by the university of Pennsylvania. At the time, her parents were told there was no hope. We were out of options and we weren't ready to quit fighting. Reporter: In may, Emily's doctors at the children's hospital of Philadelphia declaring her five years cancer free. Congratulations. Thank you. That's great. I think it's really exciting, other kids will be able to have the same outcome as I did. Reporter: Tom, there are serious side effects, but the hope is this kind of therapy could be used to treat other cancers. It costs almost $500,000, but the company is saying it's looking for a way to make sure the patients that need it get
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