In the first stage of this project, Varadarajan will study different sets of modified TIL cells that have not been injected into a patient. His goal will be to identify their specific properties involved in fighting tumors.
He will then take blood samples from ACT patients who have received identical sets of cells. Exposing these blood samples to the Nano well array, Varadarajan will then single out the engineered TIL cells among all the other cells. Notably, most of these TIL cells won't be those that were originally given to patients. Instead, they'll be the descendants of those first cells several generations removed, in fact.
After isolating and identifying these cells, Varadarajan will remove them from the array. He will then clone them by the million and study their cancer-fighting properties, paying special attention to how they have and haven't changed from the original engineered TIL cells. With all that done, he will match up the different cells with patient outcomes, helping to identify which ones have been the most successful in fighting different types of melanomas.
With this knowledge, researchers and physicians developing ACT for melanoma will be able direct their work toward the most promising treatments, hopefully speeding the development of successful new therapies that can even be targeted to individual patients.
"Immunotherapy is at the forefront of cancer treatment and research. In some cases it has actually resulted in complete remission," Varadarajan said. "To help the most people, though, we've got to understand exactly what properties of infused cells are most effective at fighting cancer. This research will help us quickly identify those properties so they can be included in the future ro
|Contact: Laura Tolley|
University of Houston