Among the most recent and more promising new approaches to fighting cancer is a treatment that uses the power of a patient’s immune system to combat his or her disease. The new therapy is based on a technology known as “Adoptive Cell Transfer” (ACT) and it involves engineering a patient’s own immune cells to recognize and go after tumors.
T Cells, a type of immune cell, are the building blocks of ACT therapy. According to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the new therapy could be considered a vital breakthrough in treating cancer.
Here’s how it works: A cancer patient’s T cells are collected and removed from the patient’s body and then altered for the specific purpose of attacking the cancer cells and subsequently eliminating them. After being removed from a cancer patient’s body, the T cells are genetically engineered to produce special receptors on their surface called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). CARs are proteins that allow the T cells to recognize a specific protein or antigen (known as CD19) which is present on the surface of certain leukemia and other blood cancer cells. The engineered CAR T cells are modified in the laboratory until they number in the billions. The expanded populations of CAR T cells are then infused, or re-injected, back into the patient. In an ideal situation, the T cells multiply in the patient’s body and with guidance from their engineered receptor, the T cells recognize and kill cancer cells that harbor the antigen on their surfaces.
Although ACT therapy utilizing a patient’s own immune system to recognize and attack tumors has been restricted to clinical trials so far, these treatments using genetically engineered immune cells have generated remarkable responses in patients with advanced cancer. Once again, the functional immune system is the cornerstone for processing this therapy. del-IMMUNE V® plays an important role in providing immediate immune system support.