2018 has flown by, and 2019 is just around the corner! As the New Year approaches, it’s good to look back at just how much has been accomplished in the field of medicine, and wonder what the future holds. As is our tradition at this time of year, we are pleased to present HemaCare’s 10 most popular blogs of the year, and the advances in healthcare that they represent. Enjoy the countdown!
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.
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.
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 space-age fiction stories and shows of the past depicting nontouch surgery and medical treatments may have arrived. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a technology to remotely control the activation of CAR-T cells with the goal of noninvasive and specific regulation of CAR-T cells against tumor tissue while sparing surrounding normal tissue. CAR-T cells are powerful weapons against tumors; however, potentially life-threatening toxicity to nontarget cells can be a limiting factor in the widespread clinical application of CAR-T in the short term. A means to improve the accuracy of tumor-cell targeting would enhance the clinical utility of CAR-T immunotherapy.