New cancer treatments take personalized medicine to a new level
Personalized care has been a buzzword in the medical community for years, but new research into cancer care is taking it to a new level.
The new approach, detailed in a study published Thursday in Nature, combines several cutting-edge technologies to provide perhaps the “most complex” treatment ever given. Targeting one’s own tumor from within also offers the potential for successful treatment of those who have no choice.
“I call it a glimpse into the future of cancer treatment,” says Michelle, a medical scientist who directs the Center for Cell Engineering at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and was not involved in the research.・Dr.
This study showed that it is possible, and potentially safe, to effectively and safely alter the immune system against cancer using a highly individualized approach.
Dr. Antoni Ribas, who led the study, said it was the most complicated treatment he had ever received. And in this early trial, 16 of his treated patients were not cured.
However, the promise of being able to provide people with effective treatments that are individualized across many different variables could open a new era in cancer treatment.
Ribas, professor of medicine at UCLA and UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, said:
“The leap here is that we’ve tackled several problems at once to advance a new form of cell therapy,” he said. “Now we have to optimize it.”
A major challenge in fighting cancer is that cancer cells look much like all other cells. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are as targeted as possible, but they still kill many healthy cells, making people sick.
Cancers evolve like viruses. Kai Wooherfenich, Ph.D., director of the Division of Cancer Immunology and Virology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said the trial did what it did, killing cancer in multiple directions at once. This is why attacking is important.
“It’s very important to try to predict what tumor escape routes are, so we try to block them,” said Wucherpfennig, who was not involved in the new study.
Ribas and his colleagues at PACT Pharma, a biotechnology company in South San Francisco, combined four cutting-edge strategies to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancer cells.
First, Sadelain said, they were able to analyze the tumor cells for genetic mutations. They then identified immune cells in the patient’s own body that could recognize those mutant cells. From there, we were able to figure out why immune cells are so effective. And finally, they genetically engineered the patient’s own immune cells so that more patients could identify and kill tumor cells.
“What it ultimately shows is that this is doable,” said Sadelain. “All these steps can be pieced together so that these cells can be donated to some of the patients.”
Every cell in the body has a set of receptors, essentially flags, on its surface. Finding and killing only those cells flagged as part of a tumor offers a way to fight cancer.
In hematological cancers, most tumor cells have the same flag. For example, if you attack someone with the CD19 flag, most people with acute lymphoblastic leukemia will be successfully treated without being cured, even though some healthy cells also have her CD19 flag. , one can live without them.
However, in solid tumors such as lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancer, cancer cells carry all sorts of flags commonly found in cells necessary for survival. Using a new approach, researchers essentially identified a set of flags most likely to be found in tumor cells and genetically edited immune cells to attack them.
The goal, Ribas said, is to get the great results seen in these solid-tumor blood cancers. “A cell therapy given GPS to recognize solid tumors, at least to have a chance of treating solid tumors, because GPS recognizes mutations in cancer cells, not normal cells.”
Researchers have used CRISPR gene editing to modify immune cells.
This has some advantages, said Dr. Katy Rezvani, an oncologist and chief cell therapy section at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, who was not involved in the study.
Viruses are usually used to manipulate cells, but they can be randomly inserted into cells, making them long and expensive to manufacture.
CRISPR, a Nobel Prize-winning approach to gene editing, has allowed researchers to make multiple precise edits to the same cell. If automated, the process could be done much faster and at a much lower cost than with viruses, she said.
“We can build on this. We can make it better, stronger, faster,” says Rezvani. “In the next five years or so, we will see more of these cell therapies using CRISPR as a genetic tool to enter the clinic.”
The new studies were too small and the technology was premature to provide real benefit to the patients involved. Only the last patient who received the most cells, had the best edits, and had the most defined mutations saw short-term improvement in their cancer, he said.
Future research must be directed toward boosting the power of cells to bring more benefit to patients, Sadelain said. He and others are working on it.
“It will be years, or even decades, before we can expect these various steps to be simplified, robotized and streamlined,” he said. “It looks like a heroic undertaking today, but one day this will be more widespread and much cheaper.”
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