A video of former US Vice President Joe Biden on the talk show The View comforting co-host Meghan McCain has been making the rounds on the Internet the last few days, and with good reason.
In this hyper-partisan environment, the exchange was been seen through a unity lense: Biden, a prominent Democrat was remarkably compassionate with McCain – the daughter of prominent Republican Senator John McCain – whom Biden helped defeat in the 2008 presidential election!
Biden’s son Beau passed away from a very aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma, which is the same cancer Senator McCain is currently battling. To learn more about glioblastoma, click here.
And it was incredible to hear the former veep discuss in very hopeful terms the future – and very current present! – of cancer treatment.
“There are breakthroughs that occurring now – and it can happen tomorrow!” said Biden. “For example, in the University of Pennsylvania…what they found is this thing called a CAR T-cell, they take these cells, your immune system cells, out of your body and they reinforce it with a nanogen…and finds the cancer cells.”
This is an area Biden is very familiar with – and it it fell on eager, hopeful ears in Meghan.
CAR T-cell therapy has been a big medical breakthrough recently. As the vice president said, this therapy uses a patient’s own immune system cells. After collecting blood from the patient, T cells—the primary killing cells of the immune system—are separated out and engineered to express a special type of receptor, a chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR. Finally, the engineered T-cells are grown to massive numbers in the lab and then infused into the patient.
This University of Pennsylvania breakthrough Biden was referencing is huge – it is the first gene therapy to be approved by the FDA.
And while this treatment development has far reaching effects on all diseases, you’d be interested in learning that it has its roots in a rare disease.
A patient named Bill Ludwig was searching for treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). He became the first person to participate in the clinical trial for CAR T-cell immunotherapy – and seven years later, its success has led to FDA approval!
Joe Biden showed a very compassionate moment to someone who is struggling with the trauma of seeing a loved-one battle a disease, and he also spoke in very specific, almost scientific terms the recent medical breakthroughs that give Meghan and millions of Americans hope.
He took to the mainstream some great, inside baseball cancer facts and developments that show some excellent promise for the future of cancer treatment.