New Cancer Therapy Enhances Immune Response to Fight Cancerous Cells

In a recently published study researchers found that a form of Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell cancer treatment, a type of immunotherapy, was effective in treating leukemia patients. The treatment kept two leukemia patients in remission for 10 years. 

The results of the study were published in the journal Nature. CAR T-cell therapy is a type of adoptive cell transfer (ACT), a type of immunotherapy which consists in making your own immune cells better able to attack cancer cells. In CAR T cell therapy doctors take blood from a person with cancer and separate out the T cells, which are genetically changed in the lab to attach to a specific protein on cancerous cells. 

After the cells are expanded, they are infused back into the individual. Then they multiply inside of the patient’s body and attack the cancer cells. 

Results of the Study 

The 2 patients in the study underwent CAR T-cell therapy as part of the trial and both had a complete remission of their cancer in 2010. A decade later, they continue in remission. 

According to the study, 10 years later they were able to detect CAR T-cells in the body of both patients.

The only difference that they found in the T cells is that they shift to a specific type of T cell, CD4+ T cells, also known as helper T cells. These cells are one of the most important components of adaptive immunity, because they are required for almost all adaptive immune responses. They help activate B cells to secrete antibodies and macrophages to destroy ingested microbes, and also help cytotoxic T cells (CD8+) to kill cells infected with viruses or even cancer cells. 

The research results are encouraging because they may indicate that this type of therapy could be effective in the long term in treating some types of cancer. But further and larger studies are needed in order to have a wider understanding of the effectiveness and long term effects of the therapy.


Jessica Norris. (2022, Feb 9). Cancer cure? CAR T-cell therapy has two people in remission 10 years later. Medical News Today. Retrieved from:,to%20kill%20infected%20target%20cells.

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