UI Research Suggests Immune System Can Be Trained to Combat Solid Tumors

September 18, 2023 10:49:13

New research from the University of Illinois suggests that scientists can leverage the immune system to combat more types of cancer than previous research indicated. A recent study analyzing the effectiveness of treatments that use chimeric antigen receptor T cells to fight cancer cells found that cancer therapies that involve modifying CAR-T cells to improve their anticancer capabilities may also be effective at fighting solid tumors.

Past research and plenty of real-world evidence have consistently shown that cancers without solid tumors such as lymphoma and leukemia can be treated through immunotherapies. However, this treatment exhibited barely any effectiveness against cancers with solid tumors, limiting its use to a select portion of cancer patients.

According to primary study author and lead researcher Diana Ranoa, ongoing research efforts may expand the potential use cases for immunotherapies. Ranoa said she and her team had uncovered evidence of T cells’ ability to infiltrate solid tumor balls, allowing them to “melt away” the tumor’s advanced stages. CAR-T cells are artificially modified white blood cells that are designed to bind to antigens or proteins on cancer cells. According to Ranoa, the goal was to teach the immune system how to identify and attack tumorous cells without harming any adjacent healthy cells.

The research team collected immune T cells from mice with advanced ovarian cancer and altered the T cells to seek specific proteins and biomarkers associated with cancer cells before injecting the mice with the modified T cells. Ranoa said the research team chose ovarian cancer because it develops in mice and humans similarly, noting that it is often detected in late stages, usually stage 4, when cancerous cells have already spread from the point of origin to other parts of the body.

Surprisingly, the team found that a single dose of T-cells was “very effective” at limiting the rate of tumor growth. Just one dose of five million T cells had the ability to destroy hundreds of millions of tumor cells, a testament to how potent the treatment can be, Ranoa explained.

University of Illinois professor emeritus of pathology Ed Roy notes that while modified T cell therapies are available for patients suffering from nonsolid tumor cancers, the treatment isn’t readily accessible. This is partly due to the fact that treatment has to be customized to each cancer patient, which can be complex and costly, reducing the incentive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in immunotherapies, Roy explained.

Many other entities such as Renovaro BioSciences Inc. (NASDAQ: RENB) are also focusing on developing various immunotherapies targeting solid tumors. All these efforts will eventually avail efficacious treatments for cancers whose management has so far eluded modern science.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Renovaro BioSciences Inc. (NASDAQ: RENB) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/RENB

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