In their quest to develop effective solutions for solid tumors like mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and glioblastoma, two research teams from the University of California, San Francisco have developed a new breed of CAR T cells that have proven far better than what has previously been seen. The new, highly specific cells not only do a better job of killing cancerous cells, but they also are effective for a longer period of time and work without damaging surrounding healthy cells.
New Cell Design Minimizes Side Effects in Mesothelioma Treatment
CAR T cells represent tremendous promise in the treatment of deadly cancers, but they have proven less effective in the treatment of solid tumors like mesothelioma, and they are not without their own dangerous side effects. The California researchers have taken these modified human T cells and improved them by creating new “prime-and-kill” molecular circuits that only activate when they recognize tumor antigens.
What this means is that instead of the CAR T cells attacking both the mesothelioma cells and the healthy cells on which they reside, they distinguish between the two, only targeting the cells that are malignant. The cells were programmed to activate in the presence of EGFRvIII receptors when treating glioblastoma, a deadly and aggressive form of brain cancer, and in the presence of ALPPL2 when directed towards malignant mesothelioma.
New Approach Shows Extended Survival in Lab Animals with Mesothelioma
The new CAR T cells are being tested in the laboratory at this point, but mice infected with mesothelioma and treated with the protocol showed strong effects and extended survival. Also encouraging to researchers is the fact that the new type of cells are effective longer than the CAR T cells that have been used previously. According to lead researcher Joseph Choe writing in the journal Science Translational Medicine, “These circuits essentially give improved capability for nuanced recognition of a tumor … and thus open up many new possibilities for how to recognize and attack tumors in safer and more specific ways.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, breakthroughs like these provide much-needed hope. For more information on new technologies and other resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.