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What if the cure for cancer could be found in the body's own immune system with a little help from modern science? A new clinical trial is giving patients hope.

For Marty Melley, life is best on the go.

I always said if this thing ever got me, it would be while I was moving, not while I'm standing still, he said.

This thing is multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer. Once diagnosed, patients have about three to five years. Melley found out after the birth of his first grandchild.

I wanted to see him grow a little bit, he said.

After treatment, Marty went into remission, but the cancer came back. That s when he enrolled in a new clinical trial.

We re actually taking the patient s own immune cells, and we re genetically modifying them, said Dr. Aaron Rapoport at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center in Baltimore, Md.

That army of t-cells are then able to recognize and attack the cancer cells. The therapy is done with a stem cell transplant that helps rebuild the body s blood system.

Patients tolerate the infusion very well, Dr. Rapoport said.

Initial results show that more than 80 percent of patients either went into a complete or near-complete remission. Now 11 years after what appeared to be his death sentence, Melley has two grandsons to share his wisdom with.

When you want to do something, don t wait until the golden years, 'cause sometimes your golden years, the gold is used to pay the doctor bills, laughed Melley.

A final analysis of the study is expected to be completed by 2014. Participants are all in advanced stages of myeloma. There s also a new trial in the works to see how using the genetically engineered t-cells alone will work without a stem cell transplant.

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