It wasn't looking good for Judy Perkins.
The team of doctors complemented the cell treatment with "a range of new immunotherapy drugs called "checkpoint inhibitors", Sky News reports, "designed to overcome a cancer's ability to shield itself from the immune system".
"It feels miraculous and I am beyond amazed that I have now been free of cancer for two years".
Perkins really is lucky.
"We are de-escalating toxic therapy", Dr. Kathy Albain, chair of oncology research at Loyola University School of Medicine and lead researcher of the study, said. Patients using both types of treatment had an overall survival rate of 93.8 percent.
Researchers took a small sample of Ms Perkins' tumour and studied the DNA mutations in it. The extracted TILs from the patient are then tested against the particular mutations to find lymphocytes that can specifically recognize and attack those mutations.
"It's a whole different way of thinking about cancer treatment".
Then they extracted immune cells from the tumour and grew billions of them, finding those which would be the most effective to kill her cancer.
It provides important information on a safe way to cut back treatment, an issue that has prompted vigorous debate not only for breast cancer but also for other malignancies.
MRI scans of a woman with breast cancer before T-cell therapy show a lesion invading the chest wall, top left, and metastatic lesions in the liver, bottom left.
Perkins said that she could feel the tumors shrinking within the first week of the white blood cells having been pumped into her body.
Targeted cancer drugs are formulated to match specific mutations seen in specific cancers.
However, these are the results from a single patient and much larger trials will be needed to confirm the findings.
The patient with advanced colon cancer whom Rosenberg's team treated in 2015 is Celine Ryan of MI. It could be that they're too weak, or too few. "I know 11 out of 12 isn't great odds". "Basically, it's going to spare a lot of unnecessary chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer".
Lead investigator Steven Rosenberg said: "Because this new approach to immunotherapy is dependent on mutations, not on cancer type, it is in a sense a blueprint we can use for the treatment of many types of cancer". Minute amounts of these natural T-cells infiltrate the tumor, though they aren't present in high enough quantities to combat the growing cancer, Rosenberg said.
"In your head when you're diagnosed you think you'll have surgery, chemo and radiation".
It is the first time this kind of approach has been successful in treating advanced breast cancer.
"We are now at the cusp of a major revolution", Radvanyi wrote in a commentary.
Dr Ring said: "It is a significant step because it is about avoiding a treatment that, for most people diagnosed with cancer, is what they all fear being suggested to have". She had also started a "bucket list" of adventures and will continue ticking off experiences. We owe those who took part in this trial our thanks.
She just completed the Florida kayak trip and looks forward to more. "I loved every minute of it".