Aggressive brain tumors temporarily halted using genetically modified immune cells

MRI scan of patient with glioblastoma. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

One of the most deadly types of cancers are glioblastomas – a particularly aggressive form of brain tumor. Patients diagnosed with glioblastoma have an average life expectancy of 12-15 months and there is no cure or effective treatment that extends life.

[S]cientists from the City of Hope in southern California reported…a new cell-based therapy that melted away brain tumors in a patient with an advanced stage of glioblastoma.

[In CAR-T therapy,] scientists extract immune cells, called T-cells, from a patient’s blood and re-engineer them in the laboratory to recognize unique surface markers on cancer cells. These specialized CAR T-cells are then put back into the patient to attack and kill off cancer cells.

CAR T-cell therapy reduces brain tumors when infused into the spinal fluid.

[In the patient, Richard Grady’s, case,] CAR-T cells were first infused into his brain through a tube in an area where a tumor was recently removed. No new tumors grew in that location of his brain….Three infusions of the CAR T-cell treatment shrunk Richard’s tumors noticeably, and a total of ten infusions was enough to melt away Richard’s tumors completely.

The effects of the immunotherapy lasted for seven-and-a-half months. Unfortunately, his glioblastoma did come back, and he is now undergoing radiation treatment. Instead of being discouraged by these results, we should be encouraged.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Genetically engineered immune cells melt away deadly brain tumors