Universal cancer treatment designed to focus on patient's T cells
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Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania report a universal approach to personalized cancer therapy based on T cells. It is the first time a system for making an adaptable, engineered T-cell to attack specific tumor types has been proposed. These cells would be engineered in various ways depending on which abnormal proteins, called antigens, are expressed by individual patients' tumor cells. T cells engineered to express an engineered antigen, called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), offer an attractive strategy for targeting antigens and treating cancer. CARs are engineered receptors that graft, for example, the portion of a tumor-specific antibody onto an immune cell. This allows the patients’ T cells to recognize tumor antigens and kill their tumor cells. The new engineered T cells recognize and bind exclusively to cancer cells pre-targeted with labeled molecules. Since nearly any molecule can be labeled, the number of antigens targeted by T cells carrying biotin-binding immune receptor is nearly infinite.