93% of cancer patients respond to souped-up-immune cells

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In a new study of CAR T-cell therapy for cancer, 93% of patients responded to the treatment.

 Two physicians had major roles in a cutting-edge clinical trial using the body’s own immune cells to fight late-stage cancer, one as a researcher and one as a patient.

Senior author Patrick Reagan, an assistant professor of hematology/oncology at University of Rochester Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute, helped run the national clinical investigation of CAR T-cell therapy.

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Advance in CAR T-cell therapy eliminates severe side effects

9462BBC5-4F9E-44BE-8060-D2F28918C5AAScanning electron micrograph of a human T lymphocyte (also called a T cell) from the immune system of a healthy donor. Credit: NIAID

An advance in the breakthrough cancer treatment known as CAR T-cell therapy appears to eliminate its severe side effects, making the treatment safer and potentially available in outpatient settings, a new USC study shows.

“This is a major improvement,” said Si-Yi Chen of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and senior author of the study appearing online April 22 in Nature Medicine. “We’ve made a new CAR molecule that’s just as efficient at killing cancer cells, but it works more slowly and with less toxicity.”

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