A new Immunotherapy Technology Developed at Yale University Helps Patients Own Immune Cells Fight Cancer
Researchers at Yale University have developed a new technology which uses a sample of a cancer patients immune cells and grows them in the lab, using carbon nanotube-polymer composites. When these enhanced immune cells are injected back into the patients body, the immune cancer-fighting response is strengthened. Thus, with some help from carbon composites, cancer patients may be able to cure themselves.
The study was published in the journal ‘Nature Nanotechnology’ on the 3rd of August. The study used carbon nanotubes as a way of growing and incubating immune cytotoxic T cells. The Carbon nanotubes were first altered by binding them to polymers that contain Interleukin-2, a cell signaling protein that promotes rapid T-cell growth. In order to help these T-cells target cancerous tumour cells, the researchers covered the surfaces of the carbon nanotubes with molecules that help identify which cells within the patients body are foreign or damaging and should be challenged, and which are own-self cells.
Before the cultivated T-cells are injected back into the patients body, the carbon nanotube composites are removed from them to ensure they are not injected into the patient as well.
Dr.Tarek Fadel, the principal author of the research, has said of the study that ‘Modulatory nanotechnologies can present unique opportunities for promising new therapies such as T-cell immunotherapy. Engineers are progressing toward the design of the next generations of nanomaterials, allowing for further breakthrough in many fields, including cancer research.
This promising new technology will have to go through all phases of clinical trials before it can reach patients as an approved therapy, but if it continues to show positive results, we may very well soon see this technology being used on a large number of cancer patients in the near future.
Read more about it here: Immune cells get cancer-fighting boost from nanomaterials