CAR T Cells “Loaded” with Oncolytic Viruses Boost Attack on Solid Tumors

A new cancer immunotherapy approach devised by Mayo Clinic researchers combines chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy with a cancer-killing virus. In animal models, the dual therapy, in the form of a virus-loaded CAR T cell, has been shown to target and treat solid cancer tumors more effectively than either the CAR T-cell therapy or the virus alone, or indeed, the CAR T-cell therapy and the virus administered sequentially.

Details about the new approach appeared in Science Translational Medicine, in an article titled, “Oncolytic virus–mediated expansion of dual-specific CAR T cells improves efficacy against solid tumors in mice.” The article indicates that virus-loaded CAR T cells can transfer and release an oncolytic virus in the vicinity of tumor cells, and that tumor cells subsequently become infected, suffer viral replication, and burst open. This sequence of events leads to a potent immune response.

“We show in an immunocompetent mouse model that coadministration of an oncolytic virus (OV) with CAR T cells expands dual-specific (DS) CAR T cells through presentation of viral antigens through their T-cell receptor (TCR),” the article’s authors wrote. “[This approach confers] a potent proliferative advantage, distinct memory phenotypes, and superior efficacy compared to virus alone or to CAR T cells without OV-mediated TCR stimulation.”

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Researchers develop sound-controlled bacteria to fight cancer

by Emily Velasco,  California Institute of Technology

Since its invention, chemotherapy has proven to be a valuable tool in treating cancers of many kinds, but it has a big downside. In addition to killing cancer cells, it can also kill healthy cells like the ones in hair follicles, causing baldness; and those that line the stomach, causing nausea.

Scientists at Caltech may have a better solution: genetically engineered, sound-controlled bacteria that seek and destroy cancer cells. In a new paper appearing in the journal Nature Communications, researchers from the lab of Mikhail Shapiro, professor of chemical engineering and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, show how they have developed a specialized strain of the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) that seeks out and infiltrates cancerous tumors when injected into a patient’s body. Once the bacteria have arrived at their destination, they can be triggered to produce anti-cancer drugs with pulses of ultrasound.

“The goal of this technology is to take advantage of the ability of engineered probiotics to infiltrate tumors, while using ultrasound to activate them to release potent drugs inside the tumor,” Shapiro says.

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Groundbreaking technology makes cancerous tumors eliminate themselves

The innovation could reduce the side effects of cancer therapy.

A new technology developed by UZH researchers enables the body to produce therapeutic agents on demand at the exact location where they are needed. The innovation could reduce the side effects of cancer therapy and may hold the solution to better delivery of Covid-related therapies directly to the lungs.

Scientists at the University of Zurich have modified a common respiratory virus, called adenovirus, to act like a Trojan horse to deliver genes for cancer therapeutics directly into tumor cells. Unlike chemotherapy or radiotherapy, this approach does no harm to normal healthy cells. Once inside tumor cells, the delivered genes serve as a blueprint for therapeutic antibodies, cytokines and other signaling substances, which are produced by the cancer cells themselves and act to eliminate tumors from the inside out.

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Nanoparticle therapeutic enhances cancer immunotherapy

Summary:Researchers have discovered that a nanoparticle therapeutic enhances cancer immunotherapy and is a possible new approach in treating malignant pleural effusion (MPE). MPE is the accumulation of fluid between the chest wall and lungs and is accompanied by malignant cells and/or tumors.

Researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine have discovered that a nanoparticle therapeutic enhances cancer immunotherapy and is a possible new approach in treating malignant pleural effusion (MPE). MPE is the accumulation of fluid between the chest wall and lungs and is accompanied by malignant cells and/or tumors.

Results from the study are published in the current issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

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Digital twins for cancer patients could be ‘paradigm shift’ for predictive oncology

A proposed framework for Cancer Patient Digital Twins (CPDTs) — virtual representations of cancer patients using real-time data — would combine high performance computing modeling and simulation, model inference and clinical data to make treatment predictions and individualized health care decisions for cancer patients.

by Jeremy Thomas

A multi-institutional team, including a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) contributor, has proposed a framework for digital twin models of cancer patients that researchers say would create a “paradigm shift” for predictive oncology.

Published online in Nature Medicine on Nov. 25, the proposed framework for Cancer Patient Digital Twins (CPDTs)—virtual representations of cancer patients using real-time data—would combine high performance computing modeling and simulation, model inference and clinical data to make treatment predictions and individualized health care decisions for cancer patients. When fully realized, CDPTs would reflect a patient’s molecular, physiological and lifestyle characteristics as they evolve over time and across different treatments, and help “usher in a new age in medicine” by increasing the probability of optimal care, the authors concluded.

“CPDTs are a grand challenge problem in this growing convergence of high performance computing and oncology,” said contributor Amy Gryshuk, who serves as a lead in LLNL’s Strategic Science Engagements Office. “They have a tremendous potential to advance predictive medicine, but to fulfill that promise we will need to integrate multiscale and multimodal data to then build and test dynamic models at scale.”

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Experts develop a functional precision medicine approach to assign therapies to cancer patients

by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.

A functional precision medicine study conducted in Finland demonstrates that treatment selection based on results from drug sensitivity testing of patients’ cells can be clinically useful in patients with aggressive hematological cancers.

Cliniciansresearchers and technology experts from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM at the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center have over the last 10 years developed and tested a functional precision medicine approach to assign therapies to individual cancer patients. Their latest results have just been published in Cancer Discovery, a top-tier journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The group has focused on patients with hematological cancers, particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML), since standard therapies for the advanced forms of these malignancies have a limited effect and the outcome is invariably poor.

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Shapeshifting Microrobots that Fight Cancer on a Cellular Level

Researchers have developed fish-shaped microrobots that are guided with magnets to cancer cells. 

No, it’s not from a science fiction movie or from an episode of a popular kid’s television show. It’s real life. Researchers, in a proof-of-concept study, have made fish-shaped microrobots that are guided with magnets to cancer cells, where a pH change triggers them to open their mouths and release their chemotherapy cargo.

Scientists have previously made microscale (smaller than 100 µm) robots that can manipulate tiny objects, but most can’t change their shapes to perform complex tasks, such as releasing drugs. Some groups have made 4D-printed objects (3D-printed devices that change shape in response to certain stimuli), but they typically perform only simple actions, and their motion can’t be controlled remotely.

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Shape-Shifting Microrobots Deliver Drugs to Cancer Cells

Fish-shaped microrobots are guided with magnets to cancer cells, where they open their mouths to release their chemotherapy cargo.

Bu Katie Cottingham

Delivering drugs directly to cancer cells could help reduce chemotherapy’s unpleasant symptoms.

Chemotherapy successfully treats many forms of cancer, but the side effects can wreak havoc on the rest of the body. Delivering drugs directly to cancer cells could help reduce these unpleasant symptoms. Now, in a proof-of-concept study, researchers reporting in ACS Nano made fish-shaped microrobots that are guided with magnets to cancer cells, where a pH change triggers them to open their mouths and release their chemotherapy cargo.

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A revolutionary clinical trial is testing customized vaccines that target cancerous tumors

By Jessica Brown Anchor/Reporter

A vaccine with the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment is being tested in Boston. The customized vaccines are intended to help the body’s immune system target an individual’s tumor.

Heather Walker, a wife, mother and Boston Celtics executive, is participating in the clinical trial. In July, doctors discovered a fast-growing tumor in her brain, called glioblastoma. Advertisement

The rare and aggressive form of cancer is diagnosed in about 13,000 adults in the U.S. each year. More than 93% of patients die within 5 years and the average survival is about 15 months.

“Historically, when a glioblastoma was diagnosed, patients were often referred to a palliative care, a kind of hospice situation because treatment was not able to be effective,” said Dr. David Reardon, clinical director of the Center for Neuro-Oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. 

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New Drug-Like Molecule Counteracts Epigenetic Drivers of Cancer

A decade ago, genome sequencing revealed a big surprise: about 50 percent of human cancers are linked to mutations in what are known as epigenetic regulators, which control the activity of genes.

In a new study in Cell Chemical Biology, a team of scientists led by Oliver Bell from USC and Stephen V. Frye from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill developed a new drug-like molecule that can counteract the effects of mutated epigenetic regulators, which are known to drive certain types of cancer including lymphoma.

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Cancer Treatment: New Software Uses Artificial Intelligence to Grow, Treat Virtual Tumors

Image from scanning electron microscope, which shows selenium nanoparticles, ejected during femtosecond laser ablation of bulk selenium target in distilled water. This image captured the melted “tails” of nanoparticles, which emerge during their ejection from the bulk target.

EVONANO, a multidisciplinary project, brings together experts in artificial intelligence, computer science, microfluidics, modeling, and medicine to offer a novel method for cancer treatment research. The new software enables scientists to grow virtual tumors and use artificial intelligence (AI) to design nanoparticles to treat them.

According to Phys.org, growing and treating virtual tumors has become an essential step in developing new therapies for cancer as it allows scientists to optimize the design of nanoparticle-based drugs before testing them in the laboratory and on the patients.

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New nano particles suppress resistance to cancer immunotherapy

Combination therapy against anti-PD-1-resistant lung cancer. A combination of anti-PD-1 antibodies and stimulator of an interferon gene (STING)-loaded lipid nanoparticles (STING-LNP) had the maximum effect in reducing metastases (black regions) on lungs (pink tissue; far right). STING-lipid nanoparticles alone had a better effect (center right) than anti-PD-1 antibodies (center left), which were as effective as the control saline solution.

A specially designed lipid nanoparticle could deliver immune-signaling molecules into liver macrophage cells to overcome resistance to anti-tumor immunotherapy.

After intravenous injection into mice, STING-lipid nanoparticles (red) transported through blood vessels(green) accumulate in the liver (Takashi Nakamura, et al. Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer. July 2, 2021).

Hokkaido University scientists and colleagues in Japan have found a way that could help some patients overcome resistance to an immunotherapy treatment for cancer. The approach, proven in mice experiments, was reported in the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer.

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