In the first part of this series we introduced the concept of cell-based immunotherapy with T cell transplants. Next, we describe an even more potent approach to cancer treatment with T cells that are engineered to express anti-tumor molecules or cell surface tumor-identifying killer receptors. The latter of which are called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs.
Recent data suggest that the average person has about a 40% chance of developing cancer at some point in his or her lifetime.  If those statistics are not frightening enough, let’s talk treatment: chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, chemical-based drug therapy, or a combination of the above. And don’t forget the various side effects of cancer therapy, many of which are a result of the destruction of crucial adult stem cells in the body. Because of this, stem cell transplants have been performed with fresh stem cells originating from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or cord blood to help replenish a patient’s hematopoietic system.
In Part II of this series we discussed how peripheral blood mononuclear cells can be used to screen for drugs responses in healthy and infected cells. Here we discuss other measurements that are particularly useful in the context of cancer drug discovery and development.