Immunotherapy Technique Specifically Targets Tumor Cells
A new immunotherapy screening prototype developed by University of California, Irvine (UCI) researchers can quickly create individualized cancer treatments that will allow physicians to effectively target tumors without the side effects of standard cancer drugs. UCI’s Weian Zhao and Nobel laureate David Baltimore with Caltech led the research team that developed a tracking and screening system that identifies T cell receptors with 100-percent specificity for individual tumors within just a few days.
In the human immune system, T cells have molecules on their surfaces that bind to antigens on the surface of foreign or cancer cells. To treat a tumor with T cell therapy, researchers must identify exactly which receptor molecules work against a specific tumor’s antigens. UCI researchers have sped up that identification process.
“This technology is particularly exciting because it dismantles major challenges in cancer treatments,” said Zhao, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences. “This use of droplet microfluidics screening significantly reduces the cost of making new cancer immunotherapies that are associated with less systemic side effects than standard chemotherapy drugs, and vastly speeds up the timeframe for treatment.”
Zhao added that traditional cancer treatments have offered a one-size-fits-all disease response, such as chemotherapy drugs which can involve systemic and serious side effects.
Research findings appear in Lab on a Chip.