Brazilian model Celso Santebañes, who was nicknamed “The Human Ken Doll,” has died after a five-month struggle with leukemia.
Celso Santebañes, 20, died on Thursday, June 4, from bacterial pneumonia following a bout with leukemia.
Diagnosed with the rare form of blood cancer last year, Celso Santebañes underwent a battery of chemotherapy treatments starting in December of 2014. He died at the Federal University of Uberlândia Clinical Hospital, where he was undergoing his latest round of chemotherapy.
Celso Santebañes spent thousands of dollars on surgery to transform himself into a real-life version of iconic doll Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken, People magazine reports.
Starting at the age of 15, Celso Santebañes entered beauty contests. As a teenager, people kept telling him that he looked like a Ken Doll. Obsessed with the perfection of physical beauty, the Brazilian model started to identify features of his face that didn’t look like Ken Doll.
His nose was too wide, his lip too natural and his philtrum – the crease of the upper lip – simply too natural.
By his late teens, Celso Santebañes had fixed his “imperfections” and joined a growing number of adult men aspiring to look like a Ken Doll. Not to be outdone by the original Mattel doll, Celso Santebañes released a line of “Celso” dolls modeled after himself. He daydreamed about making a film with Valeria Lukyanova, the Ukrainian “Human Barbie”.
In his five month battle with cancer, Celso Santebañes immediately had to confront his own physical deterioration, the undoing of what had become his personal identity and national image. It started with dark spots on his skin and bleeding gums, side effects of the blood cancer. Once in treatment his hair fell out. He’d later be confined to a wheelchair, a scrawny pale shadow.
ImMucin, a breakthrough vaccine that targets a molecule in 90% of all cancers has been tested on humans for the first time.
Results from the safety trial – on patients with blood cancer – found all had greater immunity to the disease after receiving the vaccine. Three of the seven patients who have completed the treatment are now free of the condition.
The therapeutic vaccine developed by Vaxil Biotheraputics and Tel Aviv University is designed to be given to patients to help their bodies fight cancer rather than the majority – known as prophylactic vaccines – that aim to prevent disease in the first place.
Researchers believe the jab could also tackle breast, prostate, pancreatic, bowel and ovarian cancers.
Even tumors that resist treatment with the best medicines on the market, including the breast cancer “wonder drug” Herceptin, may be susceptible to the vaccine.
ImMucin, a breakthrough vaccine that targets a molecule in 90% of all cancers has been tested on humans for the first time
If all goes well, ImMucin could be on the market by 2020.
Rather than attacking cancer cells, like many drugs, ImMucin harnesses the power of the immune system to fight tumors.
The search for cancer vaccines has until now been hampered by fears that healthy tissue would be destroyed with tumors.
Researchers from the drug company Vaxil Biotheraputics and Tel Aviv University have focused on a protein called MUC1 that is made in bigger amounts in cancerous cells than in healthy ones.
Not only is there more of it, but a sugar that it is “decorated” with has a distinctive shape.
The vaccine “trains” the immune system to recognize the rogue sugar and turn its arsenal against the cancer.
The misshaped MUC1 sugar is found in 90% of all cancers. There have been “dramatic” results in tests on mice with breast tumors.
Now, Vaxil Biotheraputics have announced promising results in a human safety trial.
Ten patients suffering from multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, have now received the vaccine received the vaccine at the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem.
Seven of the patients have finished the treatment and Vaxil reported that all of them had greater immunity against cancer cells compared to before they were given the vaccine. Of the seven, three patients are reportedly free of detectable cancer.
None of them have reported suffering side-effects apart from minor irritation.
A statement from Vaxil Biotheraputics said: “ImMucin generated a robust and specific immune response in all patients which was observed after only 2-4 doses of the vaccine out of a maximum of 12 doses.
“In some of the patients, preliminary signs of clinical efficacy were observed.”
Years of large-scale human trials will be needed before the drug is judged safe and effective for widespread use in hospitals.
It could then be used with existing drugs to boost treatment and given to prevent tumors from coming back after surgery.
Men and women known to be at high risk of cancer because of their genes could also be vaccinated in an attempt to stop tumors from appearing.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]A new treatment for leukemia had amazing results, surprising even the researchers who designed it. The new treatment has eradicated the cancer cells present in the first three patients tested bodies.
Early results of a clinical trial showed that genetically engineered T cells eradicate leukemia cells and thrive.
Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have genetically engineered patients’ T cells — a type of white blood cell — to attack cancer cells in advanced cases of a common type of leukemia.
The first two of three patients studied, who received the innovative treatment, have been cancer-free for more than one year. In the case of the third patient, over 70% of cancer cells were removed, according to the researchers.
"Microscopic image showing two T cells binding to beads, depicted in yellow, that cause the cells to divide. After the beads are removed, the T cells are infused into cancer patients." (Dr. Carl June / Pennsylvania Medicine)
“In just three weeks, tumors were destroyed, the effect being more violent than we ever have imagined,” said Dr. Carl June, one of the researchers involved in the study.
“Each cell can destroyed thousands of cancer cells,” said June, “each patient have been removed tumors from at least 900 grams.”
“A huge accomplishment”
[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”] “This is a huge accomplishment — huge,” said Dr. Lee M. Nadler, dean for clinical and translational research at Harvard Medical School, who discovered the molecule on cancer cells that the Pennsylvania team’s engineered T cells target.
Innovative treatment is using patients’ own T cells, which are extracted from body cells and then genetically modified to attack cancer cells and to multiply and then reintroduced into patients’ blood.
Findings of the trial were reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine.
According to LA Times report, for building the cancer-attacking cells, the researchers modified a virus to carry instructions for making a molecule that binds with leukemia cells and directs T cells to kill them. Then they drew blood from three patients who suffered from chronic lymphocytic leukemia and infected their T cells with the virus.
When they infused the blood back into the patients, the engineered T cells successfully eradicated cancer cells, multiplied to more than 1,000 times in number and survived for months. They even produced dormant “memory” T cells that might spring back to life if the cancer was to return.
On average, the team calculated, each engineered T cell eradicated at least 1,000 cancer cells.
Side effects included loss of normal B cells, another type of white blood cell, which are also attacked by the modified T cells, and tumor lysis syndrome, a complication caused by the breakdown of cancer cells.
“We knew [the therapy] could be very potent,” said Dr. David Porter, director of the blood and marrow transplantation program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a coauthor of both papers, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine.
“But I don’t think we expected it to be this dramatic on this go-around.”
Bone marrow transplants from healthy donors have been effective in fighting some cancers, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, but the treatment can cause side effects such as infections, liver and lung damage, even death.
“1/5 of bone marrow transplant recipients may die of complications unrelated to their cancer,” Porter said.
Researchers have been working for many years to develop cancer treatments that leverage a patient’s immune system to kill tumors with much greater precision.
Specialists not involved in the trial said the new discovery is very important because it suggested that T cells could be adapted to destroy a range of cancer cells, including ones of the blood, breast or colon
“It is kind of a holy grail,” said Dr. Gary Schiller, a researcher from UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center who was not involved in the trial.
“It would be great if this could be applied to acute leukemia, where there is a terrible unmet medical need,” UCLA’s Schiller said.
Dr. David Porter added:
“Previously efforts to replace risky bone marrow transplants with such engineered T cells proved disappointing because the cells were unable to multiply or survive in patients.”
“This time, the T cells were more robust because the team added extra instructions to their virus to help the T cells multiply, survive and attack more aggressively.”
“About 15,000 patients are diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia every year. Many can live with the disease for years. Bone marrow transplants are the only treatment that eradicates the cancer.”
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”]Dr. David Porter cautioned that these were preliminary results and the scientists plan to continue the trial, treating more patients and following them over longer periods.
“The researchers also would like to expand the work to other tumor types and diseases,” Porter said.
The hope, scientists said, is that the method would work for cancers that can kill more ruthlessly and rapidly.