Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

gavin
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:24 pm UTC

Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby gavin » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:10 pm UTC

Usually most "cancer breakthroughs" I find are from less than mainstream sources with little to no actual research. This morning I saw on MSN and ABC news that there was a legitimate breakthrough with human testing.

ABC News (video): http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news%2Fhealth&id=8299959
Article from Biotech: http://www.fiercebiotech.com/story/designer-t-cells-spur-cure-breakthrough-leukemia-study/2011-08-11

Apparently the engineered T-cells are designed to bing to a particular protein found in the CLL tumor cells and normal B-Cells (could be a problem?). Within three weeks two of the three patients had no signs of leukemia while the third has been in remission for 7 months. This was late stage and in their bone marrow so this is pretty extreme. They plan to apply this to lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and both myeloma and melanoma related cancers.

Two things I don't know: A. how long it takes to make these personalized cells. (these people were in late stage so maybe not that long) B. What the damage to the normal B-Cells implies. (they say this procedeure is relatively safe since no other cells (besides B-cells) contain the CD19 protein that the T-cells bind to).

Any thoughts? This is spreading fairly rapidly through other news sources so I want to head it off early if it's just another big claim that amounts to nothing. I just usually don't see such claims on mainstream media.

EDIT: sorry about the problem with the links. Don't know what happened but they're fixed now.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:26 pm UTC

The second article doesn't really seem to understand how B-cell response works, but the idea is sound and the proof of concept suggests it's a promising method for treatment. Seems better than chemo or radiation therapies; using the individuals body like this seems potentially much less invasive, and may strongly reduce the need for chemo or radiation.

Unfortunately, it seems like it'll likely only be useful for specific cancers.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

Dark567
First one to notify the boards of Rick and Morty Season 3
Posts: 3686
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere(in the US, I don't venture outside it too often, unfortunately)

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby Dark567 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:31 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Unfortunately, it seems like it'll likely only be useful for specific cancers.
From what I have read a cure for all cancer is pretty much near impossible, instead where going to have to tackle a few types at a time.
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

gavin
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:24 pm UTC

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby gavin » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:36 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The second article doesn't really seem to understand how B-cell response works, but the idea is sound and the proof of concept suggests it's a promising method for treatment. Seems better than chemo or radiation therapies; using the individuals body like this seems potentially much less invasive, and may strongly reduce the need for chemo or radiation.
Can you (or someone else) elaborate on the B-cell response? It's one of my main lacks of understanding on the issue.

Damn it, I went all the way through pre-med with straight A's but everything I learned seems to be drifting away since I changed fields. I remember t-cells intricately, but not so much b-cells and google doesn't seem to be my friend today.


Unfortunately, it seems like it'll likely only be useful for specific cancers.
They plan to apply this to lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and both myeloma and melanoma related cancers. I mean, it won't get everything but those are the big hitters.

User avatar
broken_escalator
They're called stairs
Posts: 3312
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:49 am UTC
Location: _| ̄|○

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby broken_escalator » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:39 pm UTC

gavin wrote:Can you (or someone else) elaborate on the B-cell response? It's one of my main lacks of understanding on the issue..

I know b cells do that whole antibodies thing.

Here is a basic picture from wiki:
Spoiler:
Image

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5941
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby Angua » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:41 pm UTC

The Leukemia cells have CD19 (which is just a cell marker) as do normal B-cells - so these T cells attack both. As they are talking about trying to stimulate memory T cells, I'm going to guess that these patients will be attacking CD19 cells for life (if they get it to work properly) and so will probably have to trade normal B cell function for being cancer free. They'll be effectively immunosuppressed, and will probably have to have serum transfusions, which is all ready the treatment for people who have this sort of problem genetically (eg x linked agammaglobulinaemia).
Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
GNU Terry Pratchett

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:42 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Unfortunately, it seems like it'll likely only be useful for specific cancers.
From what I have read a cure for all cancer is pretty much near impossible, instead where going to have to tackle a few types at a time.

My guess is that's going to be true until our technology is vastly superior.
gavin wrote:Can you (or someone else) elaborate on the B-cell response? It's one of my main lacks of understanding on the issue.

My memory is going to have some holes, but to summarize:
B-cells are cells which through VDJ recombination produce a very large assortment of antibodies (as in, each individual B-cell produces one, and many B-cells through genetic shuffling, produce a wide range of antibodies). They then present these antibodies and float around the body, and if they encounter an antigen that their particular receptor binds too, they queue themselves to rapidly divide. This is where I get fuzzier: I can't recall if they then present that antibody to T-cells, or if they secret the antibody into the circulatory system (or both?). The point is, they present the antibody, if the antibody binds to it's antigen, B-cells proliferate.

Some line in the article said that the researchers successfully made the B-cells divide, but it seems like that's something they do anyway; the accomplishment, as I understand it, is that they genetically engineered B-cells to present a receptor to a protein specifically found in a type of cancer.
Edit: Ninja'd, and I was mostly right.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5941
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby Angua » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:51 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Dark567 wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Unfortunately, it seems like it'll likely only be useful for specific cancers.
From what I have read a cure for all cancer is pretty much near impossible, instead where going to have to tackle a few types at a time.

My guess is that's going to be true until our technology is vastly superior.
gavin wrote:Can you (or someone else) elaborate on the B-cell response? It's one of my main lacks of understanding on the issue.

My memory is going to have some holes, but to summarize:
B-cells are cells which through VDJ recombination produce a very large assortment of antibodies (as in, each individual B-cell produces one, and many B-cells through genetic shuffling, produce a wide range of antibodies). They then present these antibodies and float around the body, and if they encounter an antigen that their particular receptor binds too, they queue themselves to rapidly divide. This is where I get fuzzier: I can't recall if they then present that antibody to T-cells, or if they secret the antibody into the circulatory system (or both?). The point is, they present the antibody, if the antibody binds to it's antigen, B-cells proliferate.

Some line in the article said that the researchers successfully made the B-cells divide, but it seems like that's something they do anyway; the accomplishment, as I understand it, is that they genetically engineered B-cells to present a receptor to a protein specifically found in a type of cancer.
Edit: Ninja'd, and I was mostly right.

No, it seems like they're making the T-cells divide. B cells are being attacked by these T cells.
Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
GNU Terry Pratchett

gavin
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:24 pm UTC

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby gavin » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:57 pm UTC

Immunosuppression isn't as bad as dying from cancer, for sure. Still bad though. I wonder if there's a way to engineer B-cells as well that are missing that protein type (cd19) to compensate for this action since it is so specific.

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5941
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby Angua » Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:10 pm UTC

CD19 is part of the B cell signalling pathway, so it would probably be very difficult to do.

What they may do is kill off all the T cells once you seem to be cured (probably after 5 years or more). They can already do that with some drugs, and then you would just regenerate the non-modified version (this is assuming that they don't implant modified stem cells, as killing off t-cells won't attack the bone marrow cells that the T cells grow from). Then your b cells would no longer be killed off.
Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
GNU Terry Pratchett

gavin
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:24 pm UTC

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby gavin » Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:29 pm UTC

Angua wrote:CD19 is part of the B cell signalling pathway, so it would probably be very difficult to do.

What they may do is kill off all the T cells once you seem to be cured (probably after 5 years or more). They can already do that with some drugs, and then you would just regenerate the non-modified version (this is assuming that they don't implant modified stem cells, as killing off t-cells won't attack the bone marrow cells that the T cells grow from). Then your b cells would no longer be killed off.
That sounds viable. Thanks for that input. I wonder if they have programmed anything else into the T-cells that would contribute to the ease of destroying them. If it is as effective as they say (three weeks) then maybe they could kill them off sooner or program them to die after so many replications.

Steroid
Posts: 549
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:50 am UTC

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby Steroid » Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:50 pm UTC

Probably a stupid question, but would this line of research have any bearing on AIDS treatment? I vaguely remember from my high school health class that HIV affected T-cell functioning. Could we engineer a cell that resisted the virus's effects?

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5941
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby Angua » Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:55 pm UTC

Maybe - there was a thing about a guy with HIV getting a bone marrow transplant that was CCR5-/- and was cured afterwards (or at least, seemed to be) - but changing all of the T cells is a lot harder than just introducing new ones in (these new T cells are in addition to your normal ones), and would be more dangerous.
Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
GNU Terry Pratchett

gavin
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:24 pm UTC

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby gavin » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:18 pm UTC

Steroid wrote:Probably a stupid question, but would this line of research have any bearing on AIDS treatment? I vaguely remember from my high school health class that HIV affected T-cell functioning. Could we engineer a cell that resisted the virus's effects?
This T-cell research was originally for the treatment of AIDS. The question is whether or not these T-cells can survive AIDs, I guess. Angua also referenced a pretty neat breakthrough in AIDs treatment that was actually found while fighting cancer.

curtis95112
Posts: 639
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:23 pm UTC

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby curtis95112 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:19 pm UTC

Steroid wrote:Probably a stupid question, but would this line of research have any bearing on AIDS treatment? I vaguely remember from my high school health class that HIV affected T-cell functioning. Could we engineer a cell that resisted the virus's effects?


Imagine a HIV-resistant T-cell that is to HIV as CO is to hemoglobin!!!
Argh. It's late, I'm fantasizing.
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Роберт wrote:Sure, but at least they hit the intended target that time.

Well, if you shoot enough people, you're bound to get the right one eventually.

Thats the best description of the USA ever.

nitePhyyre
Posts: 1280
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:31 am UTC

Re: Cancer Breakthrough: Engineered T-Cells

Postby nitePhyyre » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:44 am UTC

gavin wrote:
Steroid wrote:Probably a stupid question, but would this line of research have any bearing on AIDS treatment? I vaguely remember from my high school health class that HIV affected T-cell functioning. Could we engineer a cell that resisted the virus's effects?
This T-cell research was originally for the treatment of AIDS. The question is whether or not these T-cells can survive AIDs, I guess. Angua also referenced a pretty neat breakthrough in AIDs treatment that was actually found while fighting cancer.
God to scientists: Gotcha! :wink:
sourmìlk wrote:Monopolies are not when a single company controls the market for a single product.

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process.



Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests