Lynchburg Doctor: New Cancer Treatment Could Change Medicine Forever

Lynchburg, VA - One doctor in Lynchburg is saying a cancer treatment out of New York, could change the face of medicine.

We told you about the new leukemia trial at Sloan Cancer Center that has cured one man of the disease.

Now doctors here are saying it could save countless lives.

After further testing, the treatment could eventually become available here.

But the findings so far have been miraculous. In a few patients with acute leukemia, usually deadly in adults, the treatment put some patients in remission, in a matter of days.

"And you get that phone call from the doctor and she says, 'I think you might have leukemia" said Aditi Silverstein, a leukemia survivor.

Words like that you don't forget. Silverstein plays them over and over in her head, even now, 14 years later.

"When I was diagnosed, and when I was going through treatment, it does take up a lot of your consciousness" she said.

She went through a series of rigorous chemo treatments for her chronic leukemia, and now, even though in remission, she wishes there had been another option.

"It's relentless" she said.

But out of Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, a new discovery, "I think it could change the face of medicine," said Oncologist, Doctor Cecilia MacCallum.

MacCallum treated Silverstein and many others with leukemia.

"The group that they treated in particular has a poor prognosis. And now five of them, three of them out of the five, have now had a long term remission" said MacCallum.

She's speaking about a cell replacement treatment for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In adults, the disease has a mere 30% survival rate.

The experimental treatment led to remission in eight days for one of the patients; unheard of in traditional trials.

"The amazing thing about this trial was how dramatically it worked and how successful it was for those people" said MacCallum.

Known as a targeted treatment, the procedure takes the patient's own cells, and genetically modifies them to hone in directly on the leukemia.

Still in its infancy, it has managed to give all cancer patients, a little hope, "If it proves to be effective... it would be wonderful" said Silverstein.

MacCallum says the treatment has to go through another trial phase and then approval from the FDA; a process quickened for treatments that show incredible promise... like this.