Turning cancer cells into anti-cancer agents: Study

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A novel technique is being used by researchers to transform cancer cells into effective anti-cancer medicines.

The paper claims that researchers have created a brand-new cell therapy strategy to get rid of tumours that have already grown and to create long-lasting immunity, teaching the immune system how to keep cancer from coming back.

In the most recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the research team tested their dual-action, cancer-killing vaccine in a sophisticated mouse model of the lethal brain tumour glioblastoma, with encouraging findings, according to the paper. The Science Translational Medicine journal publishes the results.

Although there is a lot of research being done on cancer vaccinations, Shah and his colleagues’ method is unique, according to the report.

The team repurposes living tumour cells, which have an interesting property, rather than employing inactivated tumour cells. Living tumour cells will traverse a large portion of the brain, much like homing pigeons returning to their nest, in an effort to locate their fellow tumour cells.

The study claimed that the modified tumour cells were also created to express characteristics that would make them simple for the immune system to recognise, tag, and remember, preparing the immune system for a sustained anti-tumor response.

According to the study, the team experimented with their repurposed CRISPR-enhanced and reverse-engineered therapeutic tumour cells (ThTC) in a variety of mouse strains, including one that contained bone marrow, liver, and thymus cells that were derived from humans, simulating the human immune microenvironment.

According to Shah’s research, the cancer cell also has a two-layered safety switch that, when activated, may eliminate THCs if necessary. The study concluded that this dual-action cell treatment offered a path for therapy because it was effective, relevant, and safe in these models.

Shah’s team chose this model specifically and used human cells to make the process of translating their findings for patient settings easier, the study said. However, more testing and development are still required.

Shah and colleagues point out that a larger variety of solid tumours can benefit from this therapeutic approach and that more research into its potential applications is necessary.