A new approach to treating pancreatic cancer using ‘educated killer cells’ has shown promise, according to early research by Queen Mary University of London.
The new cell-based immunotherapy, which has not yet been tested in humans with pancreatic cancer, led to mice being completely cancer-free, including cancer cells that had already spread to the liver and lungs.
Each year around 9,800 people in the UK are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The disease is particularly aggressive and has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers. This is because it is often diagnosed at a late and advanced stage, when the tumour has already spread to other organs.
In the study, published in the journal Gut, the team used pancreatic cancer cells from patients with late-stage disease, and transplanted them into mice. They then took the patients’ immune cells and modified them to specifically identify and eliminate the cancer cells – creating ‘educated killer cells’, or CAR-T cells.
And for the first time, the team introduced a new technology that allowed them to completely control the activity of CAR-T cells, making them potentially safer.
First author Dr Deepak Raj from Queen Mary University of London, said: “Immunotherapy using CAR-T
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