New Discoveries and Honors in Cancer Research

Read the latest cancer research and recognition from the members of the Damon Runyon scientific circle.
January 29, 2012
Drug kills cancer cells while sparing normal immunity

Rachael A. Clark, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ‘08-‘13) of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and colleagues reported that the drug Campath (alemtuzumab) effectively treats patients with Leukemic cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (L-CTCL), a leukemia arising from a type of white blood cell called T-cells. This cancer can involve the skin and other organs, and patients often die within three years. The researchers demonstrated that Campath only kills T-cells that enter the bloodstream, including the cancerous T-cells; it spares a newly discovered population of immune cells called tissue resident T-cells that provide the patient with immunity against infections. This study is the first demonstration in humans that tissue resident T-cells provide crucial immune protection of the skin.  The findings were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.