A better way to kill tumor cells

Written on

Engineered cells may be harnessed in new immunotherapy for cancer patients, Tel Aviv University researchers say

There is now a multitude of therapies to treat cancer, from chemotherapy and radiation to immunotherapy and small molecule inhibitors. Chemotherapy is still the most widely used cancer treatment, but chemotherapy attacks all the rapidly dividing cells that it locates within the body, whether they’re ultimately harmful or beneficial.

A new Tel Aviv University study led by Dr. Yaron Carmi of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine finds that a form of immunotherapy used to treat the blood cancer leukemia may be effective in treating other kinds of cancer as well. A form of leukemic immunotherapy known as chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) T-cell therapy may also be effective in killing solid tumor cells coated in specific antibodies, the researchers say.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation on August 26.

Using the body’s own immune system

“Chemotherapy damages all fast-growing cells, including hair follicles and cells that line the gastrointestinal tract, and this attack on healthy cells causes serious side effects, which include hair loss, nausea, mood changes, pain, anaemia, nerve and muscle problems, and kidney issues,” explains Dr. Carmi. “Immunotherapy, on the other hand, is a type of biological therapy that uses the body’s own immune system to seek out and destroy cancer cells. Engineered T cells have been proven very successful in treating blood cancer but attempts to use them to fight solid cancers have been disappointing.

“Our engineered cells have now shown efficacy in attacking solid tumors as well,” Dr. Carmi says.

CAR T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses altered T cells to fight cancer. T cells are a type of lymphocyte, or white blood cell, that plays a central role in the immune response. T cells are collected from the patient and modified in the lab to produce structures called CARs on their surface. These receptors allow the T cells to attach to a specific antigen on the tumor cells and kill them.

Fewer side effects, more precision

Side effects from immunotherapy may include severe inflammation, caused by an overactive immune system working to fight tumor cells. “Patients who utilize CAR T-cell therapy experience significantly fewer side effects than with chemotherapy,” adds Dr. Carmi. “And while chemotherapy is only effective while the drug is in the body, immunotherapy provides long-lasting protection against cancer.

“Our lab discovered a distinct subset of helper T cells, also known as CD4+ T cells, that express the high-affinity receptor for IgG – an antibody – and efficiently kill tumor cells coated with these antibodies,” explains Dr. Carmi. “This method uses CAR T-cell therapy and combines it with antibody specificity. Based on this discovery we were able to engineer novel T cells with enhanced tumor-killing activity and higher specificity, compared with other T cell-based therapies for cancer.

“Our engineered cells have the potential to overcome barriers usually faced by CAR T-cell therapy and have shown efficacy in solid tumors. This finding has the capability to change the way cancer is treated, demonstrating that the immune system can be utilized to identify and fight all types of cancer.”

related posts

Be My Guest

September 19, 2021

Recruiting ‘Fighting Cells’ to Destroy Tumors

September 14, 2021

Fighting Pollution With Seaweed

September 12, 2021

TAU Team Reverses Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

September 10, 2021

Nicotine Testing of Children Curbs Parents’ Smoking

September 5, 2021

Raising the Bar in Film

September 1, 2021

The Silent Prophets

August 31, 2021

Want to Fall in Love? Step Outside in The Sun

August 30, 2021

Recordings of the magnetic field from 9,000 years ago teach us about the magnetic field today

August 19, 2021

First 3D-bioprinting of entire active tumor

August 18, 2021

Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel Receives the IEEE Leadership Award

August 13, 2021

Mrs. Ariela Cotler – our next National President

August 11, 2021

Where Have All the Birds Gone?

August 11, 2021

Decoding The “God Particle”

August 8, 2021

New Warning Sign for Breast Cancer

August 6, 2021

Diminishing at the Edges

August 3, 2021

This Exhibition Will Make You Sweat

August 2, 2021

He’s Bringing Plastic Back

August 2, 2021

COVID-19 Immunity Varies Among Genders and Age Groups

July 25, 2021

What to Do When Everything is Vulnerable and Under Attack

July 25, 2021

Tel Aviv Bats Have More Fun

July 22, 2021

See You at Naftali

July 22, 2021

When the stars aligned: A star in a distant galaxy blew up in a powerful explosion, solving an astronomical mystery from the 11th century

July 15, 2021

New study found differences between women and men in the level of COVID-19 antibodies

July 15, 2021

A world first: Technology that restores the sense of touch in nerves damaged as a result of amputation or injury

July 15, 2021

A New Tool for Combating Discrimination

July 15, 2021

TAU Medical Student to Swim for Israel at Summer Olympics

July 15, 2021

Digital Learning: TAU 1st in Israel According to International Ranking

July 12, 2021

New nanotech from TAU produces “healthy” electric current from the human body itself

July 9, 2021

Introducing the world’s thinnest technology – only two atoms thick

July 7, 2021

Want to Live a Long Life? Consider Investing in Your Marriage.

July 2, 2021

The Faculty of Engineering Predicts: A Greener and Safer Future

July 2, 2021

A world first: Targeted delivery of therapeutic RNAs only to cancer cells, with no harm caused to healthy cells

June 30, 2021

New Type of Prehistoric Human Discovered in Israel

June 27, 2021

A new type of Homo unknown to science

June 25, 2021

Care for A Glass of Tel Aviv Air?

June 24, 2021

Leading the Global Yiddish Renaissance

June 22, 2021

Combating Antibiotic Resistance

June 22, 2021

Celebrating 20 Years of Gender Studies

June 16, 2021

TAU Alumni Fill Ranks in Israel’s New Government

June 15, 2021

Exploring New Frontiers in AI

June 14, 2021

TAU Graduates Bolster Israel’s Global Standing

June 14, 2021

We Are Part of the Problem and the Solution

June 10, 2021

The survivability of animal species depends on the number of offspring rather than body size

June 10, 2021

First-of-its-kind study: Researchers used smart watches to monitor changes in quality of life during lockdowns

June 8, 2021

Bats ‘Social Distance’ Too

June 6, 2021

Diamonds in the Rough

June 3, 2021

A Bridge to Clean Water

June 3, 2021

Is It Game Over for The British Monarchy?

June 2, 2021

Joint Israeli-Emirati Water Research Institute to Open in Abu Dhabi, UAE

June 1, 2021
Ontario and Western Canada

3130 Bathurst Street, Suite, 214, Toronto, ON | M6A 2A1 
Phone: 416.787.9930 | Toll Free: 833.32.CFTAU (22328)
Email: toronto@cftau.ca

Ottawa, Quebec and Atlantic Canada

6900 Boulevard Décarie, Suite 3480, Montreal, QC | H3X 2T8
Phone: 514.344.3417
Email: montreal@cftau.ca


© CFTAU  | all rights reserved
Charitable registration: 124035643RR0001

TO TOP