Stem cell treatment could create ‘living drug’ against cancer tumors

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In a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, a natural killer cell immunotherapy derived from induced pluripotent stem cells is being tested for safety in 64 patients with a variety of solid tumors.

NK cells are immune cells in the same family as T and B cells, and are very good at targeting cancer cells for destruction. Laboratory experiments have shown they do so by attacking cells that have lost their major histocompatibility complexes—self-recognition signals that tell the immune system not to attack—a phenomenon that can happen among cancer cells but not to healthy cells. Experts are not sure what proportion of cancer cells lose that signal, says [lead physician] Sandip Patel.

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The main disadvantage of taking cells from a patient and developing them into a cellular immunotherapy product is that the process can take weeks. “But for the majority of patients who may not be a candidate or may not have time to wait for such an approach, the idea that there’s an off-the-shelf immunotherapy that could potentially as a living drug act against their cancer, I think is a really exciting concept,” Patel tells The Scientist.

Read full, original post: Clinical Trial Underway for a Natural Killer Cell Therapy

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