A new treatment has showed a ray of hope for some of the solid tumours that can lead to cancer. This treatment can help the immune system to fight against the deadly blood cancers ad has given hope that such an approach can be extended to more common cancers in future. The treatment is called as the CAR-T therapy and involves genetically modifying some of the patient’s own cells to help them recognize and attack cancer.
A patient, Richard Carlstrand of Long Key Florida had it more than a year back for mesothelioma, which is an aggressive cancer of the lining of the lungs. He said that they were going in to some unknown territories to try this but now he does not show any signs of cancer. The results of this case along with other cases were discussed on March 31, 2019 at an American Association for Cancer Research conference in Atlanta.
The earlier CAR-T therapies were approved in 2017 for some lymphomas and leukimias. After they were altered in the lab and the modified immune system cells are returned to the patient with the help of an IV that puts them right where the cancer is in the blood. However, such an approach does not work if the cells have to travel far through the blood stream to get the tumors in the lung, colon, breast and other places. Dr. Prasad Adusumilli of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York said, “Solid tumors are notorious for not letting the immune cells enter”. The bigger worry is that the proteins in the solid tumor cells that such therapies target are also found in the normal cells at lower levels, so the therapy might harm them as well.
But Adusumilli helped to design a new CAR-T to try to avoid such problems and tested them on 19 patients with mesothelioma and two others with breast and lung cancer respectively.
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