segunda-feira, 15 de agosto de 2011

Novel immunotherapy has potent antitumor effect

It has been highly publicized in media in the past days: 3 patients with an advanced and refractory type of leukemia have been cured by a new immune treatment. What are the science facts behind these news? A group of scientists from University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, have managed to develop a new kind of therapy using modified immune cells - an immunotherapy. They created genetically engineered T lymphocytes that express the so-called chimeric antigen receptors (CAR). Cells carrying CAR aimed at an specific target - the CD19 molecule - and modelled as so they receive the appropriate input from other immune cells have shown the ability to localize in the bone marrow and multiply to a huge proportion (over 1000 times). Each gene-modified cell was calculated to eradicate 1000 or more cancer cells. Three patients were treated with these cells in a pilot phase I study and showed a remarkable recovery. Two patients went into complete remission - there is no detectable cancer in their blood or bone marrow. Time will say if they are really cured or if the disease will grow again after the "killer" cells fade away. This new kind of immunotherapy carries a promise of becoming a cornerstone in the treatment of cancer. Read the complete paper in Science Translational Medicine: http://bit.ly/r6w9EY

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