Breakthrough personalised T-cell therapy for children with brain tumours

pharmafile | November 23, 2021 | News story | Manufacturing and Production  

The Centre for Cancer and Immunology Research, Children’s National Research Institute, have developed a new approach that identifies unique proteins situated in a particular tumour cells. This allowed the targeting and termination of these cells through the generation of personalised T cells, according to a preclinical study published in Nature Communications.

The researchers have merged the fields of proteogenomics and immunotherapy, laying the groundwork for personalised, targeted T cell therapies to treat children with brain tumours, developing a precision treatment for a form of pediatric brain cancer known as medulloblastoma.

“This work is an incredibly exciting advancement in personalised medicine. It will allow us to treat patients with a novel T cell therapy that is developed for each individual patient to specifically attack and kill their tumour,” said Catherine Bollard, MD, MB ChB, director of the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research at Children’s National and co-senior author on the paper. “This treatment will offer a potential option for children with hard-to-treat brain tumours for which all other therapeutic options have been exhausted.”

Given the findings, the researchers are now designing a Phase I clinical trial set to begin 2022 to 2023, in which a patient’s own T cells are trained to recognise their tumour’s unique neoantigens and are then reinfused back into the patient. T cells are a type of white blood cell specialised to destroy defective cells. Tumour specificity is important because when clinicians treat patients using T cell therapies, they must be sure that the T cells directly target and kill the tumour, and not cause potentially devastating harm to healthy cells. The paper sheds light on the possible increased efficacy and safety margin of this new technique.

Ana Ovey

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