“July 12, 2018 — A new approach to immune therapy for cancer could be a “game changer.”
Currently, disabled viruses are used to carry new genetic material into immune cells called T cells in order to get them to target cancer. But these disabled viruses are in short supply, resulting in long wait times for them, the Washington Post reported.
A team of scientists say they’ve developed a new, faster method to reprogram T cells, which normally target bacterial or fungal infections, into cancer fighters.
Rather than using disabled viruses, the scientists found that shocking T-cells with electricity relaxes the membranes that surround the cells, enabling the insertion of new genetic material, the Post reported.
The research by James Wilson, director of the gene therapy program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, and his colleagues was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
“It’s a turning point,” Vincenzo Cerundolo, director, Human Immunology Unit, Oxford University, U.K., told the Post. He was not involved in the new research.
“It is a game-changer in the field and I’m sure that this technology has legs,” said Cerundolo, who added that the research could lead to cheaper and faster immunotherapy.”
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