Cervical Cancer Breakthrough - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Cervical Cancer Breakthrough

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37-year-old Aricca Wallace is cancer free 22 months after undergoing  an experimental treatment to treat her cervical cancer. She brought one of her sons to a checkup. "He looked at them and said 'thanks for saving my mom.'" 

Diagnosed with cervical cancer three years ago, Aricca received aggressive chemotherapy and radiation that didn't work. Doctors told her she had a year to live.

Now she is one of two cervical cancer patients that has had their tumors go away completely after an immunotherapy study at the National Cancer Institute. Scientists used her tumor to grow t-cells which are part of the immune system and can target the cancer.

"We grow them up in huge numbers and then you give them back to the patients," says Dr. Christian Hinrichs.

Aricca says the treatment gave her very high fevers and made her really sick like she had a bad viral infection. "They just kept reassuring me this is a good thing, this means that its working, and that your body is reacting and its fighting. So once they explained it to me that way, I could battle through it."

Doctors only looked at 9 patients and don't know how long the response to the therapy will last. Aricca says she doesn't take any day for granted.
"You don't know, you don't know what tomorrow will bring, you don't know what your destiny is so, you just live every moment to the fullest."

Researchers are trying to figure out why other women in the study did not respond to the treatment.

The Human Papilloma virus causes most cervical cancer. Scientists are now testing the therapy on other hpv related cancers including anal and throat cancers. 
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