Cancer Immunotherapies May Deploy Nonimmune Cells Engineered to a "T"

10:13 EST 14 Nov 2017 | Genetic Engineering News

Rather than hone the killer instincts of immune cells—and risk unleashing an overzealous horde—cancer immunotherapies may recruit and train nonimmune cells, which have the potential to be more controllable. Alternatively, cancer immunotherapies could assemble antitumor units consisting of both engineered immune cells, such as chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cells, and engineered nonimmune cells, including cells outfitted with “synthetic T-cell receptor–like signal transduction devices.” If given the right kit, even a soft cell—an adipose stem cell, for example—could join the anticancer fight, suggests a team of scientists based at ETH Zurich. This team, led by Martin Fussenegger, Ph.D., a professor of biotechnology and bioengineering, reports that it can equip nonimmune cells with additional components, and muster ranks of synthetic designer cells that mimic T cells. Details appeared November 13 in the journal Nature Chemical Biology , in an article entitled, “Nonimmune cells equipped with T-cell-receptor–like signaling for ...

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