Cardinal George Testing New Drug in Battle Against Cancer

Cardinal Francis George is battling his third bout with cancer. He has decided to fight this round by being part of a new clinical trial at the University of Chicago. In a statement, the Archdiocese said, "The trial is testing a new drug, which may work by activating cells of the immune system enabling them to attack cancer cells. This approach differs from that of traditional chemotherapy, which uses drugs designed to be toxic to cancer cells."

The Archdiocese also told the media that the new drug has shown great promise in results from other patients with the same type of cancer. The study includes a large number of people. The immune system has a blind spot by design. An immune system that is able to attack itself leads to autoimmune diseases. As protection, the immune system screens out its own tissue.

For decades, scientists have assumed that cancer was beyond the reach of the body’s natural defenses. But after decades of skepticism that the immune system could be trained to root out and kill these malignant cells, a new generation of drugs arrived that completely proved otherwise.

This new treatment consists of infusing antibodies that enhance the immune system and enable it to recognize cancer cells and attack them. Since the immune system has a built-in memory, it will continue to attack the cancer cells, so the response is long lasting.

The cardinal has just begun the new treatment and only limited information is available at this time. Francis George was initially diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006, a rare carcinoma. He learned that the disease had returned and attacked his kidney and liver in August of 2012. The cancer was in remission for over a year when new signs it had returned began to surface. This time around, the Cardinal was facing a more aggressive batch of chemotherapy.

George's carcinoma was relatively unusual form and accounts for about 10% of bladder cancer cases. At the time, the tumor was considered superficial. However, the cancer cells were aggressive and it spread quickly.

Patients who are diagnosed with bladder cancer have an increased risk of developing cancer in the kidney and liver. It remains to be seen whether or not the trial will yield effective results for the religious leader.

Tammy Marie Rose

About Tammy Marie Rose

Tammy Marie Rose is an author, blogger and freelance writer with over ten years professional writing experience. She is a divorced mother of three. Her family calls West by God Virginia home.

Tammy Marie Rose

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