New Progress in Immunotherapy Strategies

State-of-the-art immunotherapies may show great promise in the future for cancer treatment.

Immunotherapy research results show that cancer treatment may need a combination approach. Dr. Andrew S. Chi, the chief of neuro-oncology and the codirector of the Brain Tumor Center at NYU Langone, weighed in on the state of developed immunotherapy approaches. A number of strategies involve increasing T-cell activation against tumors by the use of checkpoint inhibitors (that block proteins that inhibit immune system attack of cancer cells). Dr. Chi points out that combinations of immune checkpoint inhibitors may be more effective. 

Promising Treatment for Multiple Myeloma on the Horizon

Researchers believe combining elotuzumab and PBMC treatments with ASCT and lenalidomide maintenance may be an effective treatment option for multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematological cancer of bone marrow plasma cells. In MM, the antibody-producing plasma cells transform into malignant myeloma cells that produce abnormal antibodies (M proteins). When M proteins accumulate, they outnumber and overcrowd the normal antibodies. Patients with MM can experience bone and kidney damage, anemia, and an impaired immune system.

Stem Cell-Like Function of Adult Immune Cells Stimulate Healing

New research suggests that wound fluid induced macrophage clustering shows improved healing.

Tissue damage is repaired by the proliferation of normal cells, tissue stem cell maturation, and scar formation. However, the inflammation associated with tissue damage or injury promotes cell plasticity as part of the tissue repair process. Fibroblasts that are critical for wound healing are mesenchymal cells that are actually derived from myeloid cells such as macrophages. Macrophages are immune cells that are the first line of defense against pathogens. They are also important in wound healing and inflammatory processes.

Improved Cancer Immunotherapy Possible with Dendritic Cell Vaccines

Personalized dendritic cell vaccines have continued to show success with the treatment of certain cancers. 

Dendritic cell vaccines are increasingly showing success in the treatment of certain cancers. Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells that process antigens then present them to T cells. In the personalized approach to using dendritic cells vaccines, cells are obtained from the patient, exposed or loaded with cancer antigens, and grown. The resulting antigen-loaded dendritic cells are injected back into the patient, where the dendritic cells can elicit the anti-cancer immune response of T cells.

Progress in Sickle Cell Cure Research

The findings of a new study on sickle cell disease may lead to a new era in the approach to treatment.

Sickle cell disease (often referred to as sickle cell anemia) is a group of blood disorders in which the blood cells have an abnormal sickle shape instead of the biconcave disk shape. The sickle-shaped cells have a shorter life span (leading to anemia), but they also block normal blood flow leading to pain and organ dysfunction. There is no cure, and treatments that exist are aimed to control symptoms and related complications.

What Are the Benefits to Using Disease State Samples?

Disease state specimens boost the ability to achieve scientific advances and characterize the cellular and molecular features of a disease and its progression.

Progress in personalized medicine continues as more methods are developed to enhance diagnostic and prognostic efforts. Molecular technologies allow the identification of factors that can be used for early disease diagnosis, prediction of disease susceptibility, monitor disease development, determine treatment effectiveness, and to determine a patient’s disease prognosis. The availability of disease state specimens has bolstered the ability to achieve these advances and to characterize the cellular and molecular features of a disease and its progression.

The HIV Epidemic: Research Studies Open Doors To New Antibody Treatment Options

There is still a need for HIV treatments and therapies with a preventive capacity that can help increase immune system function with limited unwanted side effects.

From the beginning of the HIV epidemic to date, over 70 million people have been infected, and there have been approximately 35 million mortalities associated with HIV infection. Therapy to prolong life in those infected with HIV include the use of antiretroviral drugs. These drugs effectively lower the HIV body burden to allow recovery of the immune system. There remains a need for therapies with preventive capacity, that can help increase immune system function, and that have limited unwanted side effects.

Biological Scaffolding Speeds Ex Vivo T Cell Expansion

Scientists discover a new approach to rapidly expand T cells ex-vivo that can be useful for anti-cancer immunotherapeutic approaches.

The development of safe and effective T cell−based anti-cancer immunotherapies is continually developing and have led to some successes. This approach depends on the rapid ex vivo expansion of functional T cells. However, current methods to achieve this are met with a number of challenges that limit the ability to obtain sufficient T cells in less than the several weeks necessary to expand the cells.

The Role of PBMCs in Chronic Fatigue

New research using PBMCs has uncovered the role of cellular energy pathways in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, but recently referred to as systemic exercise intolerance disease, is a debilitating disease without a known cause. Historically, it has been thought of as a manifestation of a psychological condition. Some references still speculate that psychological stress may be a trigger, as well as viral infection or hormone imbalances. Whatever the cause, CFS is characterized by extreme fatigue that cannot be explained by an obvious medical condition. It is worse after physical or mental activity, yet it is not relieved by resting.

How T Cells Navigate the Bloodstream

A crucial step in the T-cell immune response is its migration to the site of action in the body. Immature T cells do not migrate and remain in lymphoid tissue; however, mature T cells acquire the ability to migrate, and the means by which this is accomplished is not fully understood. Recent research shows that T cells migrate in a way similar to that discovered for neutrophils.