Driving Cancer Cells Away Without a CAR
mp3 | wav

cancer cells The human immune system is like a home security system. It�s on alert twenty-four-seven, three-sixty-five for invaders and even malignant cells. That�s why scientists have harnessed our immune system, specifically T cells, to kill cancer cells, Using a technology called CAR or chimeric antigen receptor, they engineer a patient�s own T cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells. But the therapy can also harm patients in some cases from the immune system becoming over-activated.

To avoid this risk, researchers have just found a way to use non-immune cells to target cancer cells in the lab, specifically human embryonic kidney cells and human mesenchymal stem cells. These engineered cells are called synthetic T cells and they�re designed to recognize cancer cells by placing sensor receptors and cell-killing technology on them.

Once a cancer cell is detected, a series of cellular reactions occur within the T cell which produces a drug-activating protein. This protein is then transferred to surrounding cancer cells which are killed by the activated drug. One scientist compared it to an explosion where one single synthetic T cell destroys many cancer cells.

The therapy has two benefits. First, only cells in the immediate area are killed which limits surrounding tissue damage. Also, these synthetic T cells may induce fewer side effects since they don�t over-activate the immune system.

All this sounds great but the work hasn�t even moved into animal testing, much less clinical trials on human patients. So, there�s a ways to go, however, it�s an exciting development in cell therapy and the efforts to fight cancer.

For more information…

Non-immune cells equipped with T cell receptor-like signaling for cancer cell ablation
The ability to engineer custom cell-contact-sensing output devices into human non-immune cells would be useful for extending the applicability of cell-based cancer therapies and avoiding risks associated with engineered immune cells. Here, we have developed a new class of synthetic T-cell receptor-like signal-transduction device that functions efficiently in human non-immune cells and triggers release of output molecules specifically upon sensing contact with a target cell...

E-cigarettes cause more harm than good on a population level
Although some adults may successfully quit smoking through the use of e-cigarettes, the number of those who benefit from the product is far outweighed by the number of teenagers and young adults who transition from e-cigarette use to cigarette smoking and the number of years lost on a population level, according to research published in PLoS ONE..

Researchers Build a Cancer Immunotherapy Without Immune Cells
A team has engineered two stem cell lines into �synthetic T cells� that destroy breast cancer cells in vitro...