Given the surprising results of our mouse studies, we set out to find similar CKA in the white cells of healthy humans. We tested blood from a large number of people and found that humans do indeed have CKA similar to the cancer resistant mice. In humans, however, CKA levels vary more between individuals; this variability may explain why some develop cancer and others do not.
In order to determine whether CKA levels are associated with cancer, we evaluated the CKA from people who were either healthy or had already been diagnosed with cancer. People with cancer had lower CKA levels than healthy people in a similar age group.
The types of leukocytes that displayed the highest level of CKA were the granulocytes and monocytes, which is very similar to what we found in the cancer resistant mice. Interestingly, the CKA was lower in older subjects, during winter months or in times of stress.
Granulocyte Transfusions and Other Cell Therapies
Granulocytes are the most abundant white blood cells in humans and are part of the body’s first line of immunological defense. These cells can be collected from healthy donors and transfused to fight infections in patients with severe deficiency of granulocytes. This is an established procedure that has been in use for more than 40 years.
LIFT is significantly different from other cell therapies that have used either the patient’s own cells or a different type of donor cells, such as T-lymphocytes. This is the first time that donors will be selected according to a very relevant activity: the ability to kill cancer cells.
Video of pre-clinical research:
The Wake Forest clinical trial for granulocyte infusions to cure cancer was cancelled due to administration issues but a new South Florida clinical trial is proceeding. Cell recipients will include 22 cancer patients who have solid tumors that either didn’t respond originally, or no longer respond, to conventional therapies. The study costs $137,000 per patient receiving therapy, and for some patients (those living in 22 states, including North Carolina) the costs may be covered by their insurance company. For general information about insurance coverage of clinical trials, go to the American Cancer Society’s web site.
If you are interested in trying to enroll in the US clinical trial, would like more information about it or would like to become a donor please go to the South Florida Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Institute site.