Adoptive cell transfer (ACT) therapy is used to treat patients with metastatic solid tumors. ACT involves the removal of some of the patient's cancer cells, and some of their immune T cells. When the cells are mixed together, specific parts of the cancer cells that stimulate the T cells to cause an immune attack can be identified. The T cells get expanded and re-infused into the patient to mount an immunological, anti-cancer response against the tumors. One of the challenges faced is selecting the appropriate T cells with proper antigen specificity.
In a new study appearing in the June 1 print issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Nicholas Restifo and colleagues identified which cells are optimal for treating large, vascularized, established tumors. The authors use a mouse model that mimics the human clinical situation. They find that phenotypic and functional qualities of T cells are associated with the ability of ACT to cause regression of large, established melanomas. Seemingly paradoxical, na´ve and early effector T cells are more effective for tumor treatment than more differentiated T cells.
In an accompanying commentary, Daniel Speiser and Pedro Romero write, "optimal therapeutic efficacy may depend on different T cell selection and preparation strategies" and these findings indicate that a pragmatic strategy for ACT is to keep the in vitro T cell expansion phase as short as possible to keep them na´ve. These findings are important for development of improved adoptive immunotherapy approaches for treating tumors and established infectious diseases.
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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