A bold strategy to enhance CAR T-cell therapies, capable of targeting DIPG and other tough-to-treat cancers
April 27, 2018
A Boston-based team of researchers, made up of scientists and pediatric oncologists, believe a better CAR T-cell therapy is on the horizon.
They say it could treat a range of cancers — including the notorious, universally-fatal childhood brain cancer known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma or DIPG — by targeting tumor cells in an exclusive manner that reduces life-threatening side effects (such as off-target toxicities and cytokine release syndrome). The team, led by Carl Novina, MD, PhD, and Mark Kieran, MD, PhD, of the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, calls their approach “small molecule CAR T-cell therapy.”
Their plan is to optimize the ability for CAR T-cell therapies, which use a patient’s genetically modified T-cells to combat cancer, to more specifically kill tumor cells without setting off an immune response “storm” known as cytokine release syndrome. The key ingredient is a unique small molecule that greatly enhances the specificity of the tumor targeting component of the therapy.
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