As Cardinal Francis George continues to battle his third bout with cancer, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced the cardinal has agreed to participate in a clinical trial of a new drug.
The trial, being conducted at the University of Chicago, hopes to activate cells of the immune system and enable them to attack cancer cells.
“This approach differs from that of traditional chemotherapy, which uses drugs designed to be toxic to cancer cells,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “A preliminary trial of this new drug has shown promising results for patients who have the same type of cancer as Cardinal George.”
The current study is looking to expand the number of patients tested. Officials said George began the treatment this week and is expected to continue every 21 days for 48 weeks.
"Since the Cardinal is just beginning this new treatment we have limited information at this time," the statement read.
A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said George is "enthused and hopeful of a positive outcome."
The archdiocese said George will maintain his regular schedule, but the spokeswoman noted that he will not be traveling to Rome in October as he had hoped.
The 77-year-old George had undergone chemotherapy for a recurrence of cancer near his right kidney earlier this year. He was hospitalized earlier this year and his doctors advised him to skip a trip to Rome for the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.
George is the spiritual leader of the Chicago area's more than 2 million Roman Catholics.