Scientists at Northwestern University in the US say they have developed a new treatment technology that uses patients’ blood cells to fight tumors.
The treatment, which uses immune cells harvested from a patient’s own tumors, could provide a new treatment option for cancer patients, potentially bypassing radiation therapy and heavy chemotherapy drugs.
To do this, scientists laid the foundation for an existing immunotherapy called adaptive cell therapy (ACT), which is used to treat advanced melanoma.
In adoptive cell therapy, T cells are usually taken from the patient’s blood or tumor tissue and grown in large numbers in the laboratory. They are then returned to the patient to help the immune system fight the cancer.
But for the first time, scientists have discovered that it is possible to noninvasively isolate tumor-attacking cells from the blood rather than from the tumor itself.
The discovery opens the door to adoptive cell therapy for hard-to-reach cancers and makes it a more viable option in hospitals.
“We started asking questions about whether immune cells that enter the tumor come back and can be found in the bloodstream,” says author Shanna Kelly. “We didn’t know if we could find them or not.” If only we could find them. We’ve seen enough of them to even study. They are definitely in the blood. This is the first time these cells have been studied in such a context.
The study, published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, builds on previous work from Prof. Kelly’s lab published last year in the same journal.
In a previous study, Kelly and her team treated mice with their own immune cells harvested from a tumor, which significantly reduced their tumors compared to conventional cell therapy methods.
The 2022 paper also describes a new method used to isolate and expand tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), a process that efficiently sorts and harvests cells to recover 400% more than current methods, making the anti-cancer response even stronger. .
While removing and treating melanomas, scientists found tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) inside them. However, sometimes removing tumors to collect tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) can pose a significant risk to patients, leaving no room for using the cells needed for adoptive cell therapy (ACT) to fight many types of cancer.
So Kelly wondered if infiltrative lymphocytic disease might be present somewhere else in the body, such as in external tumors.
Having found TIL or tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (cTRLs) in the animal’s blood, the team tested whether cTRLs had the same ability as tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TLYMPs). TILs killed cancer cells, which they did.
“This new breakthrough leads us to ask interesting questions about how early tumor-reactive lymphocytes (cTRLs) appear in the blood. Can we diagnose and treat cancer earlier using these cells?” Kelly said.
“This is the first time these cells have been studied in this context,” she added.
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