‘Supercharged’ T-cells show promise against Hodgkin’s lymphoma

| | January 23, 2018

Cancer has been winning the arms race against the immune system for too long, but scientists are developing plenty of new weapons to try to turn the tide. One key technique is to supercharge T-cells – the foot-soldiers of the immune system – to better detect and kill tumors, and a new trial at the Children’s Research Institute has delivered promising results, keeping cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma at bay for years at a time.

The team at the Children’s Research Institute engineered a new type of T-cell. The researchers modified LMP-specific T-cells (LSTs) to express a dominant-negative TGF-β receptor type 2 (DNRII).

By expressing DNRII, the engineered T-cells are able to survive in the hostile environment around the tumor and continue their usual seek-and-destroy mission. In this case, they would target proteins associated with the Epstein Barr virus, which the tumors would express.

In the study, the researchers administered the engineered T-cells to eight patients with Epstein Barr-positive Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Doses ranged from two to 12, and the amount in each ranged from 2 x 107 to 1.5 x 108cells/m2. The results were promising, with the treatment working to keep the illness at bay for years. Even better, the technique doesn’t require the unpleasant “pretreatment” of chemotherapy.

With only eight subjects, the study may be small, but it’s an encouraging finding nonetheless. The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Read full, original post: Engineered T-cell treatment helps keep cancer at bay

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