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NK Cell Clinical Trial Begins for Incurable Cancer

Jul 16, 2019 10:12:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, Immunotherapy, NK Cells

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New tests begin in the United States using stem cell-derived natural killer cells to help patients suffering from incurable cancer.

Curing the incurable is an ongoing and top endeavor in medical research. This is particularly true for the various forms of cancer that are difficult to treat. The investigation and use of immunotherapy as an option for the treatment of different forms of cancer continues to increase. The main immunotherapeutic approach to cancer involves harvesting stem cells from the patient or a donor. Given the logistics, cost, and time this approach takes, the development of a strategy or cell products that can be used on demand is much desired.

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Better Immunotherapy Research Needed for Elderly Lung Cancer Patients

Jun 25, 2019 10:03:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, Immunotherapy

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Varied responses to immunotherapy among elderly lung cancer patients reveal the need for more age-inclusive research and clinical trials.

The proportion of the U.S. population that is over 65 years of age has risen. Almost 50 million people are in this age range, a result of medical advancements which improve survival. However, cancer incidence has increased in this same age-group. More specifically, the 75 to 84-year-old age group has the highest percentage of cancer deaths. This increased incidence of cancer in the elderly may be associated with changes that occur in the immune system with advancing age.

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Improving Immune Checkpoint Therapy for Melanoma

Apr 23, 2019 10:07:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cytotoxic T Cells, Immunotherapy, T Cells

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Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and more likely to grow and metastasize. It has a high response rate to checkpoint inhibitor therapy compared to other cancers; however, about 60% of patients treated do not respond well or relapse. Immune checkpoints are proteins expressed on T cells and function to ensure self-tolerance, but they are also used by tumor cells to limit anti-tumor immune function.

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Cell Interactions for Immunotherapy and More

Feb 12, 2019 10:15:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Dendritic Cells, Immunotherapy, T Cells

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“Kiss-and-run” approach helps researchers observe interaction between dendritic cells and T cells.

The normal biological processes needed for living beings to develop, grow, and function involve interactions between a diversity of cell types. Targeting these cellular interactions can enhance current cell-based immunotherapy and regenerative medicine, as well as provide the basis for new ones. Studying the mechanisms of these interactions is necessary in order to understand the means by which they affect cell signaling, immunity, growth and development, and more.

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2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine Recognizes Immunotherapy Researchers

Jan 29, 2019 10:03:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in immune system, Immunotherapy, T Cells

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Advances in immunotherapy research to combat cancer has provided unprecedented treatment success due to the discoveries of two different Nobel Laureates, Dr. James P. Allison (U.S.) and Dr. Tasuku Honjo (Japan). Working independently, they each discovered immune system proteins that are important in self-tolerance and that can be harnessed to kill cancer cells. Checkpoint molecules prevent the immune system from killing the body’s own healthy cells. When checkpoint molecules are encountered by T cells, the cells bearing these molecules are spared attack. However, some cancer cells wear checkpoint molecules, acting as imposters of normal cells to evade attack by T cells.

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