A New Single Therapy Shows Positive Activity against Various Cancer Forms

Release Date: 30-Sep-2019

The research Team from the University of California Los Angeles has developed a new innovative treatment method that enhances the levels of specific type of immune cell and improves the immune response so that it becomes capable of fighting several forms of cancer. Researchers believe that a potent form of immune cell could be a way forward in cancer therapy.


Human body is composed of various immune cells and Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) is one of them. These cells are a type of powerful immune cell capable of fighting many different foreign particle, pathogens, and intruders. They are able to kill cancer cells. The number of these cells in human body is very minute, so the action of tumor growth suppression is limited.


However, the potency of iNKT makes them ideal candidates for innovative anticancer immunotherapy. The team of researchers from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) focuses on this ability. They use mouse models of different forms of cancer and conduct a study foe management of Cancer. The scientists have tested a new therapy that boosts the potential of iNKT cells.


In the recently published study paper, the researchers explain that the iNKT cells are very special and unique as compared to the other immune cells is that unlike other immune cells, they have remarkable capacity to target the different types of cancer simultaneously. The observing the previous clinical studies, the researchers also found that the cancer patients with high levels of iNKT cells has a longer overall survival period as compared to the patients with low levels of iNKT cells.  


The main focus of the research team was to develop a single therapy, which can stimulate the production of iNKT cells. To do so, the scientist’s genetically isolated hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow and engeenered them to develop into iNKT cells. They named the resulting cells "hematopoietic stem cell-engineered invariant natural killer T cells" (HSC-iNKT).


According to the Lilli Yang, senior author, Ph.D., what's really exciting is that we can give this treatment just once, and it increases the number of iNKT cells to levels that can fight cancer for the lifetime of the animal. They are very powerful cells, but they're naturally present in such small numbers in the human blood that they usually can't make a therapeutic difference.


The investigators also confirmed that the levels of iNKT cells production can be controlled easily by simply tweaking the HSC-iNKT cell programming. This treatment is currently at a nascent stage of preclinical trial and it remains unclear whether this same process would be as effective in humans, the UCLA investigators believe that the premise is promising.

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