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A cure for cancer?

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Elaine Thompson/AP
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

A kind of immunotherapy--extracting a cancer patient’s own white blood cells and re-engineering them to destroy the cancer cells--is raising hope.

Dr. Aaron Rapoport, who heads cellular therapy at the University of Maryland’s Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, says in about half the three hundred patients he’s treated with this therapy, the cancer is gone. Kathy Ruehle, an oncology nurse for 36 years, manages the program:

“I can honestly say that this has been one of the most exciting times and one of the most hopeful times in care because of the opportunity that this therapy affords patients who may otherwise not have therapy to help them.”

The we talk with Sonia Su, who was out of options after she relapsed twice with aggressive lymphoma. Now cancer-free, she’s working to help other patients.

Links: Greenebaum Cancer Center, Kits to Heart

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Melissa Gerr is a Senior Producer for On the Record. She started in public media at Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minn., where she is from, and then worked as a field producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland. She made the jump to audio-lover in Baltimore as a digital media editor at Mid-Atlantic Media and Laureate Education, Inc. and as a field producer for "Out of the Blocks." Her beat is typically the off-beat with an emphasis on science, culture and things that make you say, 'Wait, what?'
Maureen Harvie is Senior Supervising Producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.