Deputy Chief Sheng-Chi Chang, Cell Therapy Center
The CMUH Cell Therapy Center has obtained the MOHW-approved DC-CIK after the “Regulations Governing the Application or Use of Specific Medical Techniques or Examinations, or Medical Devices” were approved. There are eight cancers covered by the approved indications of DC-CIK therapy, including the former approved liver cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and the most recent approved gastric cancer, epithelial ovarian cancer, esophageal cancer and renal cell cancer. More cancer patients can now benefit from this therapy. DC-CIK cell therapy used in the center possesses special manufacturing and an innovative treatment process so the tumor control rate can reach 70.83% three months after DC-CIK therapy. Cell therapy can extend the survival time of cancer patients at the end stage as well improve the quality of life of patients due to the rare side effects of cell therapy.
A patch work teacher in a school club, Mdm. Tsai, has a history of Hepatitis B and long-term follow-ups at the OPD of other hospitals. She gets routine blood and ultrasound checks. Everything seems good. Last year, she didn’t follow up at the OPD due to concerns about COVID-19. This February, she was found to have issues of weight loss, abdominal distention and poor appetite so she was accompanied by her family to visit the OPD of Superintendent Long-Bin Jeng, Gastroenterology and Hepatology Department. Dr. Jeng arranged for her to have blood tests, an ultrasound and CT scan. The results showed a fetal protein increase to 12.68ng/mL, and the CT scan showed a big tumor 17.5x12 cm2 in size at the right side of her liver, and there are many transfers on both sides of the lung. The clinical diagnosis shows Stage IV liver cancer. When Mdm. Tsai heard the bad news, she and her daughter couldn't believe that they only skipped one follow-up at the OPD and this is what happens. The cancer had progressed so quickly. After being assessed by Superintendent Jeng and the team, they recommended the liver tumor on the right side be aggressively removed by surgery and potential transferred cancer post-surgery can be managed by immune, target therapy as well as the new DC-CIK cell therapy. Since there’s a certain risk level with surgery, Mdm. Tsai took a while to decide but has opted for the treatment. The team removed the hepatic tumor on the right side on March 18th and ran cultures on the tumor cell. Blood separation was performed on March 22nd to produce the DC-CIK. As preparation of DC-CIK takes about 45 days, she started undergoing immune and target therapy on April 9th. When the DC-CIK preparation was completed and ready for use on May 31st, it was infused back to her. A total of six doses of DC-CIK were administered by July 7th and the therapy was complete. On November 11th, a CT scan was arranged to ensure no recurrence on the liver and that the original small tumors metastasis over both lungs had disappeared. Fetal protein dropped to the normal range of 1.63 ng/mL.
No other side effects occurred to Mdm. Tsai in addition to the hand-foot syndrome due to target therapy during the treatment period. Her spirits and energy levels were all fine without any interference so she can still teach her students the patch work art she loves so much. After the therapy was completed, Mdm. Tsai felt more positive to face her life and recalls when Superintendent Jeng asked her if she wanted to fight. She replied that she trusted Superintendent Jeng and the team to fully support her and save her. She went for aggressive treatment and now she can reap the rewards!
The cancer therapy not only includes an operation and chemotherapy or radiation therapy, but also a new target therapy, immune and innovative cell therapy and assistant therapies, etc. By combining multiple therapies, the cancer treatment success rate and control probability can be increased. Mdm. Tsai is using her personal experience to encourage other cancer patients to never give up the opportunity to fight with aggressive treatment!