Researchers launch PhI study to test new approach to T cell immunotherapy

In a new wrinkle on the work being done to develop T-cell therapies to fight cancer, a group of investigators in Cleveland say they've seen promising lab results from a new adoptive approach that uses activated T cells extracted from the lymph nodes of melanoma patients.

In the new study out of University Hospitals Case Medical Center Seidman Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, researchers surgically extracted T cells and used a new procedure to grow and activate the T cells in a two-week culture.

The scientists note that with new immunotherapies in development, they have the potential to add this to the mix with the prospect of improving outcomes for patients. And they're now trying it out in a newly launched Phase I study.

"We are really excited that our method of activating and expanding T cells is practical and may be ideal for widespread use," says Julian Kim, chief medical officer at UH Seidman Cancer Center and the team leader on the project. "Our goal is to eventually combine these T cells with other immune therapies which will result in cures."

The National Institutes of Health and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center funded the early work. The new Phase I trial is being supported by University Hospitals as well as the Immunogene Therapy Fund, the Paula and Ronald Raymond Fund and the Kathryn and Paula Miller Family Fund.

"This study is unique in that the source of T cells for therapy is derived from the lymph node, which is the natural site of the immune response against pathogens as well as cancer," adds Kim.

- here's the release
- get the research abstract

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