Immunotherapy Uses Borrowed Immune Cells to Fight Someone Else’s Cancer

By: | June 3rd, 2016

Healthy T cells. Image courtesy : NIAID

Radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery are the traditional tools in the fight against cancer.

Chemotherapy involves killing the cancer cells by pumping harmful chemicals into the body. Radiation therapy involves hot bursts of laser light, and one of the more recent approaches to treating cancer is immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy treatment uses your body’s own immune system to eliminate cancer and prevent its recurrence.

Now, researchers from the Netherlands Cancer Institute and the University of Oslo have shown that even if a person’s own immune cells are not able to recognize and fight the tumor, someone else’s immune cells might help fight cancer cells.

The study showed that inserting the stimulating cells from healthy donors into the immune cells of the cancer patient was able to make cancer patients’ own immune cells recognize cancer cells.

How this cancer therapy works:

  1. Doctors remove immune cells called T-cells from patients. The T-cells are a type of white blood cell that fights infection.
  2. Genetically modified sensor cells derived from healthy volunteers are added to them.
  3. The engineered cells are allowed to multiply.
  4. Modified T-cells are infused back into the patient to detect and destroy the cancer cells.
Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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