Engineering patients’ immune cells to target and kill their cancer.
Cambridge Biomedical is privileged to contribute, however small, in this exciting and promising new immunotherapy, as we work in collaboration with researchers in the field, utilizing our strengths in cell based assays where we can assist with the characterization of the cells.
The promise of immunotherapy.
For years cancer treatments consisted of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, but now, immunotherapy is showing its strength by empowering the patients’ own immune system to locate and destroy the cancer. The recent approval, by the FDA, of the first chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies for the treatment of certain pediatric and young adult patients with types of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and another for certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, are significant treatment breakthroughs, a true milestone in cancer therapy.
CAR T-cell therapy involves collection of the patients’ T-cells, followed by genetic modification of these T-cells in the laboratory in order to introduce a new gene that allows the CAR T-cells to target and kill the patients cancer cells. The genetically engineered-cells are then infused back into the patient where they begin their work to target and kill the cancer.
Looking to the future.
Until recently, CAR T-cell therapy has been restricted to only a small number of clinical trials, mostly in patients with advanced cancers for which standard care had been largely ineffective. The CAR T-cell therapies, however, are showing remarkable responses in many of these patients.
These are exciting times, with this extremely promising advance in science and medicine where none existed some years ago. There is, in addition, much more to discover over the years ahead as the boundaries are pushed to unlock the full potential of immunotherapy as the treatment of blood cancers and ultimately perhaps other forms of cancer as well.