Making CAR-T cancer treatments less risky with ‘safety switches’ and precision targeting

Lymphocytes attacking a cancer cell. Image credit: selvanegra/

A majority of patients who receive CAR-T cell therapy react [with] varying degrees of severity. Those same T cells that are outfitted to attack the cancer can send the immune system into overdrive by instigating a surge of proteins called cytokines into the bloodstream, triggering inflammation. Cytokine release syndrome, as it’s called, can cause high fevers, make patients’ hearts race out of control and send blood pressure plummeting.

These side effects are one reason why both therapies are approved for only a narrow range of patients.

Many oncologists are convinced, however, that someday CAR-T cells could be used on a much wider group of patients and for a broader spectrum of cancers. Researchers are designing new forms of the treatment, changing the way that patients’ T cells are engineered to make the therapy less risky. Scientists are installing safety switches that can turn off CAR-T cells on command and designing T cells that activate only under certain conditions. Others are adding features that help the T cells more specifically target cancer cells but ignore healthy cells, or reduce collateral damage from T cell–boosting drugs.

Related article:  Gut bacteria from thin people fails to help obese people lose weight in study

David Maloney, a physician and CAR-T cell researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle [says that] CAR-T cell technology is rapidly improving, and “our job is to do this safely and make it even more effective.”

Read full, original post: How to make CAR-T cell therapies for cancer safer and more effective

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend