Researchers reprogram T cells to improve cancer immunotherapy

phys.org | 12/13/2019 | Staff
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St. Jude researchers Hongbo Chi, Ph.D., with Lingyun Long, Ph.D, and Jun Wei have found that T cells can be reprogramed to improve cancer immunotherapy.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have identified a new therapeutic strategy that enhanced cancer immunotherapy, slowed tumor growth and extended the lives of mice with cancer. The research appears today in the journal Nature.

Findings - Promising - Strategy - Cell - Therapy

The findings offer a promising strategy for developing more effective adoptive cell therapy, such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR T-cell) therapy. Immunotherapy aims to harness the patients' own tumor-specific T cells for cancer treatment. The T cells are collected, expanded and sometimes tweaked in the laboratory before being returned to patients. Some patients have had remarkable responses to the treatment. Adoptive cell therapy has proven less effective against solid tumors.

"The goal has been to increase the persistence of tumor-specific T cells and their anti-tumor efficacy," said corresponding author Hongbo Chi, Ph.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Immunology. "This study offers a way to accomplish both simultaneously by reprogramming tumor-specific T cells to have better persistence like long-lived naïve or memory T cells and exhibit robust killing activity like functionally competent effector T cells.

Researchers - CRISPR-Cas9 - Technology - Molecule - T

Researchers used CRISPR-Cas9 technology to identify a molecule in tumor-specific T cells that worked like a brake to shut down the anti-tumor immune response. When the molecule, the enzyme REGNASE-1, was deleted, T cell longevity, efficacy and accumulation in tumors increased. Mice with leukemia and melanoma...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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