Targeted T-cells can seek out and destroy tumor cells that carry specific antigen markers. Two novel anti-tumor therapies that take advantage of this T-cell response are described in articles published recently.
Richard Morgan and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, and Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, used engineered T-cells to attack glioma stem cells, which are one of the cell types present in glioblastoma, an aggressive and fatal type of brain cancer. There is no curative treatment for glioblastoma, and patients usually live less than 2 years from diagnosis. In the first article, the authors describe how targeting tumor stem cells, in combination with traditional therapies aimed at killing other types of glioma tumor cells, could improve the effectiveness of treatment and reduce tumor recurrence.
In a related article, Karen Kaluza and coauthors, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, conducted a study using T-cells capable of recognizing two different antigens simultaneously and showed that this dual targeting strategy could be more effective at clearing tumor cells and reducing the risk of "tumor escape" and cancer recurrence. In the second article, the authors conclude that T-cell therapies targeting two or more antigens will have significant added value compared to single-antigen therapies.
“These studies represent important advances in the development of novel treatments for cancer that combine the power of gene transfer and cell transplantation,” says James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, and Director of the Gene Therapy Program, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia.
Illustration: Microsoft clipart.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers News Release (10/25/12)
Science Daily (10/25/12)
e! Science News (10/25/12)
Abstract (Human Gene Therapy; Vol. 23, Issue 10, 1043-1053 (10/22/12))
Abstract (Human Gene Therapy; Vol. 23, Issue 10, 1054-1064 (10/22/12))