Personalized Therapy uses Antitumor T cells from Patient's Own Cancer

December 2, 2013

Oncology Nurse Advisor highlighted work conducted in the lab of Daniel Powell, PhD, research associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory. A T-cell activation molecule can be used as a biomarker to identify rare antitumor T cells in human cancers, according to new research. The molecule, CD137, is a protein that is not normally found on the surface of resting T cells, but its expression is induced when the T cell is activated. Patients with tumors that contain increased numbers of T lymphocytes generally survive longer than those with tumors without T cell involvement, suggesting that T cells with potent antitumor function naturally exist in cancer and control tumor progression. With the exception of melanoma, it has been difficult to identify and isolate the tumor-reactive T cells from common cancers. However, the ability to do so could be used to fight a patient's own cancer. The research team developed a rapid system to accurately isolate antitumor T cells directly from human tumor tissue.

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