Blog | HemaCare

Cells May Cooperate to Treat Cancers

Oct 22, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in T cells, NK Cells, Natural Killer Cells, immunotherapy, cancer treatment

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Recent research reveals T cells and Natural Killer (NK) cells may respond to cancer cells differently and could ultimately provide more cancer treatment options.

A leading immunotherapeutic approach to treating cancer involves the use of checkpoint inhibitors. Immune checkpoints are proteins expressed on T cells and are essential for the self-tolerance needed to prevent autoimmunity. When T-cell checkpoint molecules bind to its ligand on cells, the targeted cell is not harmed. These checkpoints are often exploited by tumor cells by possessing checkpoint molecules such as PD-L1 and impeding the immune system’s ability to initiate and carry out an immune attack on the tumor.

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HIV Cell Therapy in Development

Oct 8, 2018 10:13:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in HIV, leukopaks, leukopak, T cells

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Combining various treatment approaches is seen as a viable, more powerful means to achieve HIV cure states.

From the time that HIV-related illness and death was first realized in the 1980s until now, efforts to fully understand HIV infection and pathogenesis have been ongoing along with massive research efforts to discover a cure or means to control the spread of the virus. The newest antiviral therapies have made an extraordinary impact on the control of disease progression; however, these do not cure HIV infection and the viral activity returns shortly after antiviral dosing stops. Approaches to achieve HIV immunity are heavily studied, including developing means to provide HIV immunity in T cells and conferring HIV-resistance via gene editing. However, combining various approaches is seen as a viable, more powerful means to achieve HIV control or even a cure.

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Research on Universal Cancer Vaccine

Sep 17, 2018 10:13:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in vaccines, cancer treatment, cancer, T cells, immunotherapy, cancer immunotherapy

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Researchers are hoping to develop a cancer vaccine to improve a patient’s immune system so they can destroy the cancer cells.

The objective of therapeutic cancer vaccines is to support and enhance a patient’s immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal cells. The first therapeutic immune cell–based cancer vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is Sipuleucel-T. Administration of this vaccine in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer lead to an increase in overall survival. Boosting T-cell responses against antigens that cause a number of diseases has been approached by autologous transfer of dendritic cells. A pilot study was conducted using dendritic cells pulsed with tumor lysate from patients with ovarian cancer. Vaccination of the patients stimulated T-cell responses to the tumor antigen led to an increase in patient survival. 

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Combination of Cells Improves Immunotherapy

Aug 27, 2018 10:11:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in immunotherapy, cytotoxic T cells, T cells, cancer treatment

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A recent study looked at how checkpoint inhibitors may impact the success of immunotherapy for cancer treatment.

Immune homeostasis is crucial for human and animal survival. The immune system is equipped with cells and factors that maintain a critical balance of signals that prevent immune dysfunction. Pathways that ensure this balance are immune checkpoints, and these are essential for the self-tolerance that prevents autoimmunity. Immune checkpoint proteins modulate T-cell responses to self-proteins and antigens, including tumor antigens. The proteins are expressed on the surface of cancer and cytotoxic T cells, and cancer cells use these to evade attack by T cells.

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Treating Glioblastoma with CAR-T Immunotherapy

Aug 13, 2018 10:11:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in CAR T cells, immunotherapy, T cells, cancer immunotherapy

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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.

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