Immunotherapy is gaining huge traction in the treatment of cancer in clinical settings. The therapy harnesses the power of the immune system of the body to fight disease. CAR-T is a chief line of treatment among a slew of cancer immunotherapies, which stands for chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy.
In fact, CAR-T therapy has been successful in treating blood cancers such as leukemia, especially among young adults and children. However, use of this therapy to fight solid tumors, including skin cancer has proven to be much more difficult.
A team of researchers at Thomas Jefferson University and Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center demonstrated that in order to kill melanoma cells efficiently, CAR-T cells require antigens in abundance. These findings could lead to better immunotherapies in the treatment of solid tumors.
Clinically, CAR-T cells are very useful in destroying blood cancer cells, but it requires considerable amount of tumor-associated antigens to destroy melanoma and also other solid tumors.
Functionally, CAR-T therapy draws power from T cells – the workhorse of the immune system. T cells play a crucial role in mounting the response of the immune system to infection, including destroying infected cells. CAR-T cells are altered T-cells that show parts of synthetic antibodies on the surface of their cells. These antibody pieces allow CAR-T cells to identify and attach to specific proteins on tumor cells.
Meanwhile, to fabricate CAR-T cells for clinical use, T cells from a patient isolated and the cells engineered to showcase cancer-targeting antibodies. The millions of modified cells are grown in laboratory before injecting them back into the patient.
Resultantly, The CAR-T cells continue to multiply in the patient’s body, and if things go by plan, they identify and destroy the tumors to show the target antigen.