Modified CAR T Cells Act as “Micro-Pharmacies” in Lymphoma
New York, NY — Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering have developed a potentially powerful lymphoma treatment using modified immune cells that distribute proteins to therapeutic effect.
In experiments with human tumors transplanted into mice, the new immunotherapy approach produced significant responses, raising hopes that this technique could someday offer an effective way of treating this disease and possibly other cancers.
The technique is a new methodology derived from chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy. While historically this form of therapy has been used to give immune cells the information they needed to recognize tumor cells and attack them, this new technique utilizes CAR T cells as targeted delivery vehicles by manipulating them to produce anticancer agents.
“This form of treatment could be very effective because CAR T cells continuously produce the protein right where it is needed,” said Hans-Guido Wendel, the cancer biologist who led the team that developed the technology. “It could increase the on-target therapeutic activity and also reduce side effects of cancer treatments because it’s restricted to the tumor sites,” he said.
The approach was developed after researchers identified a critical pathway that is disrupted in approximately 75 percent of follicular lymphomas. The pathway involves an interaction between two receptors on the surface of B cells, proteins HVEM and BTLA. While they normally communicate with each other to normalize B cell’s growth rates, if the communication is disrupted, cells proliferate. Continue>
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