And once again, OncLive has an interesting piece on CAR-T.
There has been some great news ab out CAR-T lately about clinical trial results, but this OncLive piece reports on additional infomation that we are learning about how CAR-T works. Researchers found two biomarkers that could help predict whether or not CAR-T will work well for particular patients. In other words, if researchers examine the cells, and they find that they have certain properties, that may predict whether CAR-T will work.
Before we go on, a little background to remind us f what we are dealing with.
CAR-T is not a single treatment. It's more of a general term for a treatment approach that several research terms are taking. CAR-T stands for Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cells. T cells are immune cells that attack invaders in the body in different ways. CAR-T involves removing those cells from a patient and changing them so they recognize and attack cancer cells the way they would attack a virus or other invader.
One of the biomarkers that researchers discovered is called Polyfunctional Strength Index, or PSI. Let's step back again for this one. T Cells do a lot of different things, and there are a lot of different types, with each type playing a different role in the immune system's attack against an invader. So, for example, there are Effector T Cells, which respond to the invasion; Helper T Cells, whicn help out other white blood cells; Killer T Cells, which do the actual attacking; Memory T Cells, which remember an invader so a more efficient attack can be made next time. There are others, but you get the point -- different T Cells do different jobs.
Except some don't do just one job, but two or more jobs. These are called Polyfunctional T Cells -- they serve many functions, or do several jobs. According to the research, having more Polyfunctional T Cells meant a better chance at a Response.
The other biomarker was post-infusion T Cell proliferation, or how much the T Cells multiplied after they were put back into the patient. One of the really great things about CAR-T treatments is that they take advantage of T Cells being living things. Unlike chemo or other treatments, where the amount of treatment stays the same after it is put into you, T Cells naturally multiply -- if the invader is big and bad, the body produces more T Cells to attack it. According to this research, the ability to cteate more T Cells is another good sign of a response.
Put those two things together -- T Cells that do more than one job, and T Cells that multiply well -- and you have an even better predictor that the patient will have a response to the treatment.
As I said, T Cells are fascinating to me, even when they are working normally. They can learn to detect an invader, remember what it is, and beat it up in the future. B Cells are fascinating, too. And what's even more fascinating is that my own are turning against me. And now we have some very smart people figuring out how to reverse that and have them work to protect me.
We have pretty amazing bodies, don't we?
And amazing people who are figuring out how they work.
effector, stimulatory, attractor, regulatory, and inflammatory, - See more at: http://www.onclive.com/web-exclusives/car-t-cell-functionality-correlates-with-outcomes-offering-a-biomarker-for-response#sthash.ui4zrnEB.dpuf