Memory Cells May Be Key to Fighting Blood Cancers
Lifestyle| | By Madeleine Richards
This new immune cell may now be more effective than any other subset of immune memory T cells. Previously in testing with memory T cells, it was found that a very low number of injected cells could be enough to save cancer patients. Dr. Crystal Mackall of the National Cancer Institute stated, “[The CAR-T cells are] much more potent than anything we can achieve [with other immune-based treatments being studied].” Preliminary trials were carried out on patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, for whom other forms of treatment had not worked. With the CAR-T cell therapy and memory T cells, cancer was eliminated in 27 out of 29 patients. In the above left image, chemotherapy had failed to shrink the tumor in a patient’s kidney. In the image on the right, the genetically engineered CAR-T cells “melted away a lymphoma tumor,” according to Science News. Stanley Riddell, an immunotherapy researcher at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center also reported that memory CAR-T cell therapy removed tumors in six out of seven patients whose cancer had spread to other parts of the body. And because the CAR-T are a subset of T cells, only a very low dose of these immune cells were needed to rid patients of tumors, which lessens side effects for those undergoing treatment. This is certainly an exciting step towards finding a cure for cancer.