Scientistscome up empty—no viable CAR T metastatic cells to test CAR T-cell therapies

For the first time, scientists have tested their experimental CAR T-cell therapy technique and were able to successfully treat leukemia patients without cellular toxicity—evidence that may enable tests in more other cancer types. The research was led by Christoph Becker, Ph. D., director of the Division of Tumor Biology and a member of the Cancer Nutrition and Cancer Research Institute at the University of Copenhagen. The research has been published in Cell Reports.

CAR T-cell therapy is a treatment in which a patient’s cancer is killed by immune cells attacking resident or foreign cells. Its use to treat multiple myeloma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, among others, has produced promising results. CAR T therapy is based on transforming growth factor beta, which is, among other things, an important factor in the need for T-cell therapy.

When children are diagnosed with leukemia, the immune system of the child decides against going it alone and attacks the leukemia cells. But when the immune system cannot attack myeloma cells, CAR T therapy is a promising option.

An estimated 30, 000 people in the western world die from leukemia each year. In the long term, there are currently no therapies that target myeloma cells. However, in combination with conventional therapies, such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy, myeloma can become resistant to conventional immunotherapy—a technique in which the patient is vaccinated against the disease by raising levels of T-cells that attack the cancer cells.

“Our study shows that instead of using T cells to attack myeloma cells, CAR T cells can be used to kill leukemia cells. This important finding underlines the great potential of experimental therapies in the future for treating leukemia, ” says Christoph Becker.

The method involved in the study is known as “CAR T-directed therapy “. The technique was tested exclusively in mice and the approach has already been tested and successfully tested successfully on patients.

The researchers present a preliminary proof of principle showing that CAR T-directed therapy can work successfully. As little remains to be done before clinical trials can be initiated in patients, the research has already been published in the scientific journal Cell Reports.