The ability to circumvent the exhaustion that the genetically engineered cells often experience after their initial burst of activity could lead to the development of a new generation of CAR-T cells that may be effective even against solid cancers -- a goal that has until now eluded researchers.
The studies were conducted in mice harboring human leukemia and bone cancer cells. The researchers hope to begin clinical trials in people with leukemia within the next 18 months and to eventually extend the trials to include solid cancers.
T - Cells - Cancer - Crystal - Mackall
"We know that T cells are powerful enough to eradicate cancer," said Crystal Mackall, MD, professor of pediatrics and of medicine at Stanford and the associate director of the Stanford Cancer Institute. "But these same T cells have evolved to have natural brakes that tamp down the potency of their response after a period of prolonged activity. We've developed a way to mitigate this exhaustion response and improve the activity of CAR-T cells against blood and solid cancers."
Mackall, who is also the director of the Stanford Center for Cancer Cell Therapy and of the Stanford research center of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, treats children with blood cancers at the Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases at Stanford Children's Health.
Author - Study - Dec - Nature - Former
Mackall is the senior author of the study, which will be published Dec. 4 in Nature. Former postdoctoral scholar Rachel Lynn, PhD, is the lead author.
CAR-T cells is an abbreviation for chimeric antigen receptor T cells. Genetically modified from a patient's own T cells, CAR-T cells are designed to track down and kill cancer cells by recognizing specific proteins on the cells' surface. CAR-T cell therapy made headlines around the world in 2017 when the Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked their approval for the treatment of children with relapsed or unresponsive acute lymphoblastic...
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