Versatility and Specificity of CAR-T Cell Cytokines

In chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell immunotherapy, T cells are obtained from a patient and genetically modified to express specific receptors (CARs) against tumor antigens. The best studied and successful CAR-T cells target the CD19 antigen on neoplastic B cells. However, this targeted approach gives quite variable results. The secretion by CD19 CAR-T cells of various cell signaling molecules varies between patients and individual CAR-T cells. The question then is how to measure the ability of CD19 CAR-T cells to release signals, after a specific antigenic challenge and correlate that to patient responses.


CAR-T: The Designer Tumor Therapy Frontier

Personalized medicine is taking new and powerful forms in the field of immunotherapy. The technology behind making customized tumor-destroying cells, thought of not long ago as science-fiction, is now a reality. [1,2] Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cells, or CAR-T cells, are designer, precision built personal immunotherapeutic agents that target an individual’s tumor. The use of CAR-T cells is a means of using the body’s own immune system arsenal to attack cancer cells.


Fasting to Starve Cancer Cells

The ancient and well-known practice of fasting is simply the avoidance of food intake for a specific time period. This practice has religious and health-related basis. It is thought that fasting allows the system to reset, which can help prevent cancer cell survival. It has been shown over the years that fasting often has a beneficial anti-cancer effect.


Getting personal with your cancer therapy

For many years, cancer therapy has been tackled with a more or less universal approach. The drawback of this approach to therapy is the wide range of different responses to a given therapy. The concept of personalized medicine, tailoring treatment to a patient’s specific characteristics, has been envisioned and desired for many years. It is now being studied and implemented to increase successful responses to therapy, including cancer therapy.


Could Neutrophils be the key to controlling the blood supply in tumors?

White blood cells play key roles in the body’s defense against disease-causing agents. One type of white blood cell, granulocytes, plays an important role in inflammation. It is known that inflammation influences cancer development and spread (metastasis). Neutrophils, the most abundant of the granulocytes, respond to messages released by tumor cells and affect the tumor growth process.


Dendritic Cell Immunotherapy Gets a Boost

A new strategy significantly increases the efficacy of dendritic cell immunotherapy against high grade glioma, a severe type of brain cancer. The key: pre-exposing the therapy to glioma cells undergoing immunogenic cell death.

High grade glioma (HGG) is a malignant brain cancer that is characterized by tumorous growth of glial cells, non-neural cells surrounding the neurons of the central and peripheral nervous system. HGG is accompanied by a heartbreakingly poor prognosis and the current lack of a cure. Hundreds of children are diagnosed every year with HGG in Europe and North America.


CTLA-4 Discovery in Dendritic Cells Opens New Doors for Cancer Immunotherapy

New research suggests that dendritic cells produce and release CTLA-4, which typically inhibits anticancer responses.

Cancer immunotherapy strategies have made it increasingly evident that the immune system plays an integral role in managing and destroying cancer. Nevertheless, many mechanisms of immune suppression exist that may inhibit antitumor immunity. Recently, strategies that implement antibodies directed against negative immunologic regulators have demonstrated significant success. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associate protein-4 (CTLA-4) was the first immunologic checkpoint to be clinically targeted, by the cancer immunotherapeutic ipilimumab, an FDA-approved drug to treat melanoma. After T-cell activation, CTLA-4 is upregulated on the cell surface where it functions to downregulate T cell function. Ipilimumab binds to CTLA-4 on T cells, which blocks the inhibitory signals and enhances anti-cancer immune responses.

RNA Delivery to Dendritic Cells Launches Anti-Viral Defense for Cancer Immunotherapy

A new cancer immunotherapy approach uses nanoparticles carrying tumor RNA to target dendritic cells, leading to a strong anti-tumor response with antiviral-like features.

Researchers have been trying to develop vaccines to fight cancer for decades now, and it is now known to be more difficult than first thought. Cancer progression is not typically characterized by strong inflammatory signals that are necessary to initiate an immune response. Thus, most cancer vaccine strategies are aimed at directly activating a patient’s immune system. Since dendritic cells are extremely well suited at processing and presenting antigens for T cell activation, immunologists are currently working on developing vaccines that target these specialized antigen-presenting cells. Nanoparticles containing a tumor antigen and a dendritic-cell-targeting antibody have proven to be an effective strategy thus far.


The Good Side of Cholesterol: It Potentiates CD8 T cells Anti-tumor Activity

Researchers find that modulating cholesterol metabolism makes CD8 T cells better at fighting cancer.

We all know that too much cholesterol is bad for our health. However, our CD8 T cells beg to differ. If they accumulate more cholesterol inside their plasma membrane, they become better at fighting cancer. This is what the latest research published in the journal Nature shows.


Radiotherapy May Help Immunotherapy Find Its Mojo

Some cancer cells that are irradiated appear to express proteins that promote the body's immune system. Leukopheresis product from HemaCare was key to this immunotherapy research.

Radiotherapy has long been used in the treatment of cancer. By damaging DNA, leading to cellular death, radiation therapy kills cancerous tissue; radiation beams can be sculpted such that normal tissue is largely spared. This type of cancer treatment has been known to be synergistic with chemotherapy.