Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New approach to replacing immune cells shrink tumors in patients with melanoma

20.09.2002


A new approach to cancer treatment that replaces a patient’s immune system with cancer-fighting cells can lead to tumor shrinkage, researchers report today in the journal Science*. The study demonstrates that immune cells, activated in the laboratory against patients’ tumors and then administered to those patients, can attack cancer cells in the body.



The experimental technique, known as adoptive transfer, has shown promising results in patients with metastatic melanoma who have not responded to standard treatment. With further research, scientists hope this approach may have applications to many cancer types, as well as infectious diseases such as AIDS.

In the study, 13 patients with metastatic melanoma (a deadly form of skin cancer) who had not responded to standard treatments were treated with immune cells produced in the laboratory specifically to destroy their tumors. The treatment resulted in at least 50 percent tumor shrinkage in six of the patients, with no growth or appearance of new tumors. Four additional patients had some cancer growths disappear.


Researchers have tried previously to treat cancer with immune cells but the cells did not survive well in the body. "In the past, only a fraction of a percent of the cells we injected were able to survive, and they would persist for only a few days," said Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute, the lead researcher on the study.

Improvements in the way immune cells are generated in the laboratory and the way patients’ bodies are prepared to receive them, however, have led to dramatically different results. "We have been able to generate a very large number of immune cells that appear in the blood and constitute a majority of the immune system of the patient. These persist for over four months and are able to attack the tumor," Rosenberg said.

The adoptive transfer technique fights cancer with T cells, immune cells that recognize and kill foreign cells that have invaded the body. Researchers used a small fragment of each patient’s melanoma tumor to grow T cells in the laboratory, using T cells originally taken from the patients. Exposure to the tumor activated the immune cells so that they would recognize and attack cells from each specific cancer.

Once the T cells had multiplied to a sufficient number to be used for treatment, they were administered to patients. Patients were also given a high dose of a protein called interleukin-2 (IL-2), which stimulates continued T cell growth in the body. Prior to the immunotherapy, chemotherapy had been used to deplete patients’ own immune cells, which had proven ineffective at fighting the cancer. Diminishing the old cells provided an opportunity for the new T cells to repopulate patients’ immune systems. Analysis of blood and tumor samples from many of the patients who responded favorably to the treatment revealed that the administered immune cells were thriving, multiplying rapidly, and attacking tumor tissue. T cells activated against melanoma became the major component in patients’ immune systems. They persisted for several months and were able to destroy metastases throughout the body.

Over time, patients’ old immune systems recovered, restoring their ability to fight infections. Researchers report that among the patients in the study, only occasional opportunistic infections developed during treatment.

Other side effects were mild autoimmune disorders. T cells act by recognizing a protein fragment called an antigen on the outside of the tumor cells. Antigens found on tumor cells may also be found on certain normal cells in the body, making them vulnerable to attack. Autoimmune effects among the patients in the study were mild and easily controlled.

Although the treatment is highly experimental, researchers are optimistic that it may, in the future, extend beyond the treatment of patients with melanoma. It should be possible, they say, to raise immune cells that will recognize and attack many tumor types.

Similarly, the same technique could potentially be used to treat some infectious diseases, such as AIDS.

NCI Press Office | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cancer.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS

nachricht New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>