International team of scientists has uncovered a new type of immune system which could be harnessed to treat all cancers.
Discovered accidentally by British scientists, this discovery was previously thought to be impossible. It is a major breakthrough in treatment as these new tumor-killing cell shows the potential to provide a ‘one-size’ fits all cancer treatment.
Nowadays, CAR-T is the most advanced and widely used therapy. It involves harvesting a patient’s immune T cells and reprogramming them to seek and destroy cancer cells. But this therapy helped in targeting only few types of cancers and has not been successful for solid tumors. In other words, there isn’t one universal T-cell receptor (TCR).
Now researchers have discovered T-cells equipped with universal TCR. These T-cells recognizes and kills a broad variety of human cancer cell types while leaving healthy cells alone.
Although very promising, the research is at very early stage and has been conducted only in mice and in human cells in the lab. The findings have not been tested in patients.
Andrew Sewell, lead author on the new study, said,” Current TCR-based therapies can only be used in a minority of patients with a minority of cancers,”
“Cancer-targeting via MR1-restricted T-cells is an exciting new frontier – it raises the prospect of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ cancer treatment; a single type of T-cell that could be capable of destroying many different types of cancers across the population. Previously nobody believed this could be possible.”