Cells that kill cancer

Popular Science - - HEALTH -

Tu­mors are sly. To sur­vive, the cells by­pass our im­mune sys­tems by re­tain­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties to healthy cells. But they also have dif­fer­ences. Over the past decade, re­searchers have tar­geted these unique traits to re-en­list the body’s de­part­ment of de­fense. Im­munother­a­pies train our own sys­tems to de­tect those dis­tinct vari­ances. This year, that ef­fort took a huge leap: The FDA ap­proved Kym­riah, the first hu­man gene-edited ther­apy for cancer. The treat­ment mod­i­fies a pa­tient’s T cells (spe­cial­ized white blood cells) to add a re­cep­tor that lo­cates the ma­lig­nant ones so the killer T’s can at­tack them. In tri­als, 83 per­cent of pa­tients were in re­mis­sion af­ter three months. One rea­son Kym­riah works so well is that it’s the most cus­tom­ized method to date: The mod­i­fied cells are spe­cific to both the pa­tient and their dis­ease. Rub­ber-stamped to kill a type of leukemia in young peo­ple, Kym­riah and drugs like it could one day treat many other can­cers, chang­ing medicine’s ap­proach to the dis­ease for good.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.