Science 2 min read

Researchers Reactivate T Cells To Help Fight Cancer

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study from Vanderbilt University team demonstrated their ability to reactivate T cells shut down by tumors.

“Tumors are pretty conniving and have evolved many ways to evade detection from our immune system,” commented John T. Wilson, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering from Vanderbilt.

“Our goal is to rearm the immune system with the tools it needs to destroy cancer cells.”

Using nanoparticles, Wilson and his team targeted T cells damaged by cancer cells. The team designed their nanoparticles to identify the cancer-fighting cells. After identifying them, they reignited their short-circuited immune response in order to help fight the cancer.

Reigniting T Cells

Last year, two cancer immunologists were awarded the Nobel Prize for their ‘checkpoint blockade‘ discovery. The discovery led to the development of checkpoint inhibitor drugs, a method more successful in shrinking tumors than radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

However, Wilson noted that not all patients respond to this kind of treatments.

“Checkpoint blockade has been a major breakthrough, but despite the huge impact it continues to have, we also know that there are a lot of patients who don’t respond to these therapies. We’ve developed a nanoparticle to find tumors and deliver a specific type of molecule that’s produced naturally by our bodies to fight off cancer,” Wilson said.

Currently, researchers have only tested on mice and human melanoma cells. Wilson and his team believe that their new approach would also be effective on other forms of cancer.

Do you think it will ever be possible to truly eradicate cancer in humans?

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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