(WNDU) – Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are both cancer treatments.
Chemotherapy, or chemo, uses special drugs to shrink or kill cancer cells, where radiation kills these cells with high-energy beams such as X-rays or protons.
Although chemotherapy and radiation both attack cancer cells, they work differently.
Chemotherapy drugs travel through the bloodstream and kill or shrink cancer cells anywhere in the body, not just at the site where the primary tumor started. They are called systemic drugs because they pass through the entire body system. Radiation therapy uses invisible bursts of energy instead of drugs and is usually a local treatment that directs energy beams only to the area where cancer cells are growing. Both treatments share the same goals, such as getting rid of all cancerous cells and preventing the cancer from coming back; shrink or slow down cancerous growths or stop the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body; and shrinking tumors to lessen pain and other difficult symptoms of cancer.
For some cancer patients, a treatment called “T cell therapy” can be lifesaving. But a big disadvantage of this method is that the patient’s immune system must first be destroyed by chemo or radiation therapy.
But now a new discovery in mice could change that for people in the future.
Researchers are studying a new method that could eliminate the need for chemo and radiation therapy before having T-cell therapy.
With this approach, doctors collect a patient’s own immune cells, grow and improve them in a lab, and then inject them back.
“Immunotherapy has been the holy grail of cancer treatment because we know the immune system is capable of killing cancer cells. You reset the immune system and it keeps working,” said Andre Goy, a physician at Hackensack University Medical. Center.”You reset the immune system and it continues to function.”
Now, a UCLA-led research team in collaboration with scientists from Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania has found that engineering T cells with a lab-made receptor called IL9 allows cancer cells to do their job. without the need for chemo or radiation. In a model involving mice, researchers cured more than half of animals treated with synthetic IL9 cancer patients with T-cell therapy and fewer side effects.
“When T cells signal through the synthetic IL-9 receptor, they acquire new functions that not only help them out-compete the existing immune system, but also kill cancer cells more efficiently,” said Anusha Kalbasi, MD, UCLA.
The therapy has been shown to be effective in several systems. They targeted pancreatic cancer and melanoma, two types of hard-to-treat cancers, mouse models and used T cells targeted to cancer cells via the natural T cell receptor or a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) .
“The therapy also worked whether we gave the cytokine to the whole mouse or directly to the tumor,” Kalbasi said.
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