How to Optimize Material Quality for Cellular Therapeutics

Last week, HemaCare published an article in Technology Networks discussing how optimal apheresis and collection methods give cell therapies a leading edge1 

Cell therapy is a unique field because the “products” are derived from living human cells and where each donor is different, variability is inevitable. Quality precursor material gives cell therapy products their best start. Variable or low-quality starting material introduces a need for complex separation strategies or repeated manufacturing runs, leading to higher costs and resource requirements.1 To ensure the process utilizes the right resources, scientists must adopt optimal apheresis instrumentation and collection methods as one of the most important steps. 

Treating Glioblastoma with CAR-T Immunotherapy

There are some promising advances in treating glioblastoma and other cancers with immunotherapy.

The most frequently diagnosed type of brain cancer in adults is glioblastoma multiforme. Despite the emergence of immunotherapeutic approaches for a number of cancers, reliable treatments that can extend overall survival of patients with glioblastoma to the two-year mark and beyond are still under investigation. There are some promising advances such as an experimental dendritic cellbased vaccine that increased the median overall survival rate from 15 months to 23 months.

Two-Pronged Antibodies Draw Immune Killers to Cancer Cells

Researchers have developed an antibody to enhance the ability of cytotoxic T cells to target cancers cells.

The arsenal of immunotherapeutic approaches to cancer treatment is continuing to grow. Of the immune cells and molecules used to enhance the body’s ability to fight cancer, using antibodies is gaining momentum as a strategy to target cancer cells. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida have developed an antibody with two specific functions that enhance the ability of cytotoxic T cells to target cancers cells.

Brain Cancer Vaccine Could Improve Prognosis

Immunotherapy for glioblastoma has been considered an option for patients and extend life of patients.

Glioblastoma multiforme is an aggressive cancer of the brain or spinal cord that originates from astrocytes. Although this type of cancer is not age specific, it is diagnosed more often in older patients. Glioblastoma is very difficult to treat, and current options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, use of electrical fields (tumor treating fields), and targeted therapies to prevent tumor blood vessel formation. On average, people live for about 15 months after diagnosis despite receiving the standard treatments for glioblastoma.

Improving the Efficiency of Clinical Gene Therapy

An independent study [1] cites using HemaCare-sourced human cord blood, bone marrow, and mobilized peripheral blood as the starting material in a new strategy for more efficient genetic modification of human stem cells.

The study is based at the San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy in Milan, Italy. Researchers there have been looking into ways to make gene transduction, which is used to introduce an edited copy of a human gene into stem cells, more efficient. The new strategy is part of their goal to improve the potency and long-term engraftment of stem cells used for gene therapy in the clinic.

What's New in Psychiatric and Neurologic Disorder Immunotherapy?

New studies are investigating the link between psychiatric disorders and the immune system. 

Treatments that modify the immune response, immunotherapy, are increasingly employed and researched to address many disease processes including autoimmune disorders and various types of cancer. However, the link between the immune system and the brain led to investigations regarding the role of immune function in mental health. Scientists found that the brain has a lymphatic system that links to the peripheral immune system. Also, T cells found in the meninges have an influence on cognition. The role of the immune system and effectiveness of immunotherapeutic approaches for psychiatric disorders have become important subjects of study. 

Personalized Vaccine Fights Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer, while common, is challenging to treat, but a new study is looking into an immunotherapeutic approach using a vaccine from dendritic cells.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death overall in women, but is the leading cause of death due to cancer of the female reproductive system. Ovarian cancer continues to be a challenge to treat, remission is difficult to achieve, and recurrence is common. The treatment approaches used or being studied involve chemotherapy, targeted therapy (to limit damage to normal cells), and immunotherapy. The study of immunotherapeutic approaches is ongoing in order to limit adverse effects in patients and to spare normal tissue from the toxicity seen with chemotherapy. To this end, researchers recently studied an immunotherapeutic approach using a vaccine derived from dendritic cells.

Stem Cell Method Sheds Light on Heart Disease

Studying the biological processes that lead to the development of heart disease is essential in the study of preventive and therapeutic approaches to combat the illness.

One in every four deaths in the US is due to heart disease, and the most common type is coronary heart disease caused by arteriosclerosis, a hardening and thickening of the arteries. Studying the biological processes that lead to the development of arterial disease is essential in the study of preventive and therapeutic approaches to combat cardiovascular disease. In vitro methods important for studying disease mechanisms are challenging because explanted endothelial cells can lose their distinctive characteristics.

New Improvements for Prostate Cancer Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a highly studied treatment for cancers, and is now being considered for the treatment of prostate cancer, the most common cancer diagnosis for U.S. men.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis for men in the U.S. and a leading cause of cancer-related death. A heavily studied cancer treatment approach is immunotherapy and is increasingly being investigated for the treatment of prostate cancer. Although results of immunotherapy trials for prostate cancer present many challenges (relapse and development of resistance in some patients), they still show potential therapeutic promise.

PBMCs and Psoriasis Treatments

Scientists examined the peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) profiles of patients with and without psoriasis, including those that both responded to classic treatments and didn’t respond. They then analyzed the profile of those immune cell types. Here are the results of that study.

There are often differences among patient populations for a given disease in how effective a treatment provides medical relief. An important part of personalized medicine is identifying patients that are not likely to respond to a treatment regimen for a specific disease or condition. Doing this can limit the loss of time and resources in using ineffective treatments and can allow the use of personalized treatments in these populations.