Local experts make breakthrough in cancer treatment
Local scientists and medical experts have uncovered why hot CAR-T immunotherapy has a poorer effect on solid cancers than blood diseases.
The CAR-T, or Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Immunotherapy, is the process of taking T cells, a type of immune cells, from the patient and adding a chimeric antibody through genetic engineering.
The antibody performs like a navigator to help T cells identify cancer cells and activate T cells' ability to kill cancer cells. After in vitro amplication, these CAR-T cells are transported back into the patient's body.
Compared with other biological immunotherapy, CAR-T treatment is more precise and targeted to the cancer.
However, CAR-T usually has a good effect on blood diseases but a poorer effect on solid cancers. This is because CAR-T cells can become weak and then exhausted as CAR can generate a type of tonic signal while working on a solid cancer.
Scientists said tonic signal works like an order to ask a person to do the same thing repeatedly, which exhausts his or her energy and patience. The repeated signals from CAR also cause the fatigue of T cells, whose anti-cancer function also fails.
So the research on tonic signal became a hot topic in the scientific and medical field globally.
Experts from Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital of Fudan University teamed up with scientists from ShanghaiTech University, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shanghai General Hospital to make the discovery.
During the CAR-T therapy development targeting neck tumors, Dr Wu Haitao from EENT hospital and other experts found electrostatic interaction caused by positively charged plaque on the surface of CAR-T cells is the reason of tonic signal and tried two solutions to reduce it.
Animal experiments have confirmed that such methods can greatly renovate CAR-T cells' exhaustion and improve anti-cancer effects.
The discovery was published by world-leading Cell Research and named the journal's top articles in the recent three years.