T cells have been identified as a way to decelerate tumor-attacking molecules, a finding that may not only increase the effectiveness of a promising cell-based cancer immunotherapy, but also increase the number of cancers it can treat.
Their findings are published in the journalCell Metabolism on March 10th.
The discovery may strengthen CAR-T cell therapy, which combines T cells'' immune responses to cancers by introducing tumor-detecting molecules into the cells. In the last decade, the Food and Drug Administration has approved six CAR-T cell therapies to treat B cell lymphomas and multiple myeloma. However, despite its early successes, the effectiveness of the treatment has decreased significantly, which has launched a search for ways to improve T cells'' function.
There are currently no CAR-T cell therapies to treat solid tumors.
Researchers in Sidi Chen''s lab, a Yale associate professor, and senior author of the paper, devised an innovative method to accurately scan the genome of CD8 T cells for specific genes that might enhance the ability to attack cancer cells.
Chen said the discovery of a molecular enzyme that acts like a foot on a gas pedal helped accelerate metabolic activity in T cells.
Researchers claim that high levels of activity in several genes, including PRODH2, a gene that plays in cell metabolism, were to increase CAR-T cell activity in mouse models used to study three different types of cancers, including solid-tumor breast cancer. The findings suggest that hyper-metabolic CAR-T cells are capable of surpassing existing cell therapies.
Future studies may conduct experiments on metabolically enhanced CAR-Ts in clinical settings, identify other T cell superchargers, and extend cell-based immunotherapy to different cancer types, particularly solid tumors, according to Chen.