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New technique reinforces immune cells that seek and destroy cancer, says Stanford researcher
Date:4/26/2010

tory event in a cell," Smolke said. "Yvonne took some of that foundational research and asked, what if the downstream output is a T-cell proliferation response and what if the input is a drug molecule you can apply to a patient."

Because they are essentially components, different versions of the switches can be swapped in or out, as interchangeably as any two of the light switches at a hardware store. The researchers, for example, swapped in and out switches that are responsive to two different drugs: tetracycline and theophylline.

Smolke said the next phase for the project will be to develop new versions of the switch that will make the cells responsive to drugs with ideal clinical properties, such as good permeation into tissue but with low side effects. From there, the team could begin testing with therapeutically engineered T cells, such as the ones used in adoptive immunotherapy, to gauge whether their approach indeed translates into an improvement in the efficacy of the therapy against disease.

"An important point for us is that, as a proof of concept, it has the behavior we programmed it to have," Chen said. "The fact that it's modular allows us to explore other parts that can make it more suitable for whatever application you want to use it for."


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Contact: David Orenstein
davidjo@stanford.edu
650-736-2245
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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