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UCLA, Caltech research on immune-cell therapy could strengthen promising melanoma treatment
Date:3/22/2013

ose were not the genetically engineered T cells, and they appeared to be a byproduct of a process called 'antigen spreading' by the original engineered cells. After 90 days, those cells lost their tumor-killing ability as well."

Antigen spreading is a process by which a T cell that has been engineered to attack a particular tumor expands its immune response to other T cells in the body, which then attack the same tumor but are focused on different antigens. (Antigens are substances that trigger a response by the body's immune system.) Scientists may be able to use this process, Heath stressed, to improve T cellbased treatments for melanoma.

"Our results have led us to possible ways to improve the T cell therapy to extend its positive effect," Heath said. "We need to incorporate strategies that maintain the functional properties of the engineered T cells used for therapy. This might include modifying how we grow the T cells in the laboratory to make their tumor-killing effect last longer or make them resistant to the effects of the patient's T cells as they recover from pretreatment chemotherapy conditioning and possibly increase the antigen spreading of anti-tumor T cells."

UCLA professor of medicine Dr. Antoni Ribas was one of Heath's key collaborators on the research.

"One of the possible approaches to resolve the problem identified by this study is to use engineered blood stem cells instead of the peripheral blood used in the original trials with this therapy in the hope that the engineered blood stem cells will provide a renewable source of engineered T cells," said Ribas, a member of UCLA's Broad Stem Cell Research Center and Jonsson Cancer Center.

Caltech's Chao Ma, the study's first author, said the findings and the use of the new nanotechnology assay process hold promise for treatments of other disease as well.

"This study points to the value of these single-cell functional analyses for probi
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Contact: Shaun Mason
smason@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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