"We can see the opportunity for cures [for cancer] in a relatively short time frame."
That's what Dr. Gary Gilliland, President and Director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said in a Power Lunch interview.
Dr. Gilliland's optimism comes from the development of CAR-T(chimeric antigen receptor T) cells which can be genetically engineered to "seek and destroy cancer cells."
Dr. Gilliland says he has seen "tumors melt away" in patients for whom no other treatment has been effective.
Juno Therapeutics is one of the leading companies working on this form of cancer treatment. Juno was started as a collaboration between scientists at Fred Hutchinson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Seattle Children's Research Institute.
Dr. Gilliland says the best data for this treatment exists for blood-borne cancers like leukemia, but he is hopeful it could be expanded to treat more common forms of cancer like breast cancer and lung cancer.
"We're not looking to treat cancers at the Hutch, we're looking to cure cancers. And we do see that opportunity coming."