seven-year-old girl has become the first child leukaemia patient to be successfully treated by doctors using a disabled form of the virus that causes Aids to reprogramme the immune system.
When chemotherapy failed to work for Emily Whitehead, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, she underwent a new experimental treatment at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
It involved tricking her immune system into fighting the cancer cells.
Dr Stephan Grupp, Director of the Centre for Childhood Cancer Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told CBS: “We’ve treated the first couple of patients and we’ve been blown away by the results”.
They’ve been very exciting.
“We collect cells of the immune system from a patient, so we use the patient’s own cells. We put in a new gene in those cells that makes the cells go after cancer cells and then we put those cells back in the patient.”
Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, , - Processing: Judy Schmidt
Are stars better appreciated for their art after they die? Actually, stars usually create their most artistic displays as they die. In the case of low-mass stars like our Sun and M2-9 pictured above, the stars transform themselves from normal stars to white dwarfs by casting off their outer gaseous envelopes. The expended gas frequently forms an impressive display called a planetary nebula that fades gradually over thousand of years. M2-9, a butterfly planetary nebula 2100 light-years away shown in representative colors, has wings that tell a strange but incomplete tale. In the center, two stars orbit inside a gaseous disk 10 times the orbit of Pluto. The expelled envelope of the dying star breaks out from the disk creating the bipolar appearance. Much remains unknown about the physical processes that cause planetary nebulae.
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