UCSD patient gets first cancer treatment made from stem cells

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UCSD patient gets first cancer treatment made from stem cells

Source:The San Diego Union-Tribune

A new form of cancer immunotherapy has been given to a UC San Diego Health patient in the first test of immune cells grown from stem cells.

The patient, Derek Ruff, is being treated for stage four colon cancer, which recurred after a decade in remission. The disease continued to progress despite chemotherapy and radiation, said UCSD’s Dr. Sandip Patel, who treated Ruff.

Ruff is getting infusions of what are called “natural killer” or NK cells, made by San Diego’s Fate Therapeutics. Fate has worked closely with UCSD’s Dr. Dan Kaufman, an expert on these cells.

Ruff began getting multiple doses of NK cells in February. In early April, he said the immunotherapy hasn’t debilitated him like previous treatments.

“Before I got the first treatment, I was very apprehensive,” said Ruff, 52. “I had been through a lot of chemo, and chemo makes you feel really bad.”

It has yet to be determined if the NK cell treatment, called FT500, is working.

Fate is testing these NK cells in patients with advanced solid tumors, where a better-known cell therapy called chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR T cells, has shown limited benefit.

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