A leap forward in tailor-made cancer medicine
A leap forward in tailor-made cancer medicine
People with incurable cancers have reprogrammed their immune systems to attack their own tumors.
The experimental study involved just 16 patients but was called a “leapfrog” and “powerful” demonstration of the technology’s potential.
Each has a treatment developed just for them, targeting a specific weakness in their tumor.
It is too early to fully assess the effectiveness of the therapy, and it is expensive and time-consuming.
The work focuses on the part of the immune system called T cells, which patrol the body and check other cells for problems.
They use proteins called receptors to effectively sniff out signs of infection or abnormal cells that have become cancerous.
T cells have a hard time spotting cancer. Viruses are distinctly different from the human body, but cancers are more subtle because they are damaged versions of our own cells.
The idea of the therapy is to boost the levels of these cancer-finding T cells. Since each tumor is unique, it must be tailored to each patient.
Here’s how it works:
Researchers look for rare T cells in patients’ blood that already have receptors that can sniff out cancer
They then collected other T cells that were unable to detect cancer and reengineered them
Their original receptors, which may spot other problems or infections, are replaced by receptors from cancer-hunting T cells
Finally, these modified T cells are put back into the patient to seek out the tumor
Transforming T cells into a form that can catch cancer requires extensive genetic manipulation to remove the genetic instructions for building old receptors and give them instructions for new ones.
It was made possible by the dramatic advances in the gene-editing technology Crispr, which acts like a pair of molecular scissors — allowing scientists to manipulate DNA with ease. Researchers who developed Crispr win Nobel Prize
The trial involved patients with colon, breast or lung cancer that had not responded to other treatments.
The study aimed to test the safety and feasibility of the technology and show that the modified cells are finding their way into tumors.
The condition of 11 patients continued to deteriorate, but the condition of the other five patients was stable. However, larger studies are needed to determine the correct dosage and its true effects.
“This is a leap forward in developing personalized treatments for cancer,” said Dr. Anthony Ribas, one of the researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, who tested the approach developed by Pact Pharma.
Dr Manel Juan, head of the Immunology Service at the Barcelona Clinic Hospital, said it was a remarkable work” and “certainly one of the most advanced in the field.
Professor Waseem Qasim, who worked on the life-saving designer’s immune system at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said it was a powerful early demonstration of what the new technology might enable.
Dr Astero Klampatsa of the Institute of Cancer Research in London said the research was very important, but warned that the time, labor and expense involved were huge.
China Covid-free: Violent protests in Guangzhou strain containment measures
Crowds of residents in southern China’s industrial metropolis of Guangzhou fled an enforced lockdown and clashed with police as anger boiled over strict coronavirus containment measures.
Dramatic footage shows some overturning a police car and removing Covid containment barriers.
It follows the worst Covid outbreak in Guangzhou since the start of the pandemic.
China’s zero-Covid policy is under intense pressure amid poor economic data.
Tensions have been rising in the city’s Haizhu district, which is under a stay-at-home order.
The area is home to many poorer migrant workers. They complain that they are not being paid if they cannot go to work, and that they are living under coronavirus containment measures with food shortages and skyrocketing prices.
For several nights, they had been feuding with white-clad Covid-prevention law enforcement officers, and then overnight on Monday, anger suddenly erupted in massive acts of defiance on the streets of Guangzhou.
Unconfirmed rumors are at play again. There have been rumors that testing companies are falsifying PCR results to artificially increase the number of infections in order to make more money.
In the north of the country, the coronavirus rumor mill is also adding pressure.
Officials in Hebei Province announced that the city of Shijiazhuang would stop mass testing. But this leads to speculation that the population.