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Crafting a better T cell for immunotherapy

New technology, not yet tested in humans, aims to reduce patients' waiting time, increase potency of T-cell therapy

Date:
February 22, 2016
Source:
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Summary:
T-cell therapy, a form of immunotherapy, involves engineering the patient's T cells in the laboratory to carry new proteins that guide the immune cells directly to tumor cells, allowing the engineered T cells to attack and kill the cancer. Now, a group of researchers has devised a new approach that could speed and improve this process, using a special, small protein tag that can be used to purify and track the T cells once they have been engineered in the laboratory.
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FULL STORY

T-cell therapy, a form of immunotherapy that uses a patient's own immune cells to attack their cancer, has been making waves recently. The "living" therapy involves engineering the patient's T cells in the laboratory to carry new proteins that guide the immune cells directly to tumor cells, allowing the engineered T cells to attack and kill the cancer.

Now, a group of researchers led by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center immunotherapy researcher Dr. Stanley Riddell has devised a new approach that could speed and improve this process, using a special, small protein tag that can be used to purify and track the T cells once they have been engineered in the laboratory.

Riddell and his team describe the approach, and its effect on human cancer cells in the laboratory and on a mouse model of lymphoma, in a study in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Although not yet tested in humans, the researchers believe this new approach could improve on current T-cell therapy methods in several ways:

  • by boosting the cells' potency,
  • by growing larger numbers of cancer-fighting T cells,
  • by adding a potential "kill switch" to quickly deactivate the cells in patients' bodies in the event of toxic side effects and
  • by cutting down the immune cell processing time from the current 14 to 20 days before reinfusion to 9 days or less.

Juno Therapeutics, a biotechnology company initially formed on technology from researchers at Fred Hutch, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Seattle Children's Research Institute, has an exclusive license to the tag technology for uses related to oncology (as well as a non-exclusive license for other purposes).


Story Source:

Materials provided by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Original written by Rachel Tompa. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lingfeng Liu, Daniel Sommermeyer, Alexandra Cabanov, Paula Kosasih, Tyler Hill, Stanley R Riddell. Inclusion of Strep-tag II in design of antigen receptors for T-cell immunotherapy. Nature Biotechnology, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3461

Cite This Page:

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "Crafting a better T cell for immunotherapy: New technology, not yet tested in humans, aims to reduce patients' waiting time, increase potency of T-cell therapy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160222115133.htm>.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. (2016, February 22). Crafting a better T cell for immunotherapy: New technology, not yet tested in humans, aims to reduce patients' waiting time, increase potency of T-cell therapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160222115133.htm
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "Crafting a better T cell for immunotherapy: New technology, not yet tested in humans, aims to reduce patients' waiting time, increase potency of T-cell therapy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160222115133.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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