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Dr. Walter J. Urba of the Providence Cancer Center in Portland, Ore., called the findings "pretty remarkable" but added a note of caution because of the size of the study.
"It's still just three patients. Three's better than one, but it's not 100," said Urba, one of the authors of an editorial on the research that appears in the New England Journal.
What happens long-term is key, he said: "What's it like a year from now, two years from now, for these patients."
But Dr. Kanti Rai, a blood cancer expert at New York's Long Island Jewish Medical Center, could hardly contain his enthusiasm, saying he usually is more reserved in his comments on such reports.
"It's an amazing, amazing kind of achievement," said Rai, who had no role in the research.
One of the patients, who did not want to be identified, wrote about his illness, and released a statement through the university. The man, himself a scientist, called himself "very lucky," although he wrote that he didn't feel that way when he was first diagnosed 15 years ago at age 50.
He was successfully treated over the years with chemotherapy until standard drugs no longer worked.
Now, almost a year since he entered the study, "I'm healthy and still in remission," he said. "I know this may not be a permanent condition, but I decided to declare victory and assume that I had won."
New England Journal: http://www.nejm.org/
Science journal: http://stm.sciencemag.org/
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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