Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering have discovered something new about CAR-T immunotherapy: The cells can act as delivery vehicles for proteins that have the potential to treat lymphoma.
In patients with follicular lymphoma, a receptor called HVEM is mutated half of the time, and the mutations can lead to growth of the cancer. To combat this, the scientists engineered a CAR-T cell to deliver the HVEM protein normally produced by healthy cells. And the CAR-T cell acts as a sort of “micro-pharmacy” that continuously makes the protein locally.
In animal tests, the protein-producing CAR-T cells performed better than the control.
Previously, CAR-T cells were thought to directly attack cancer cells, but the new research, published in Cell, demonstrates they can have even more of an impact.