Might CAR-T cells cause cancer rather than cure it? Elizabeth Tracey reports
CAR-T cells, which are immune cells removed from the body, genetically modified in a laboratory and then reinfused back into a recipient, have achieved notable successes in treating some cancers. Now there have also been reports of people being treated with CAR-Ts developing blood cancers leukemia and lymphoma, which the FDA is investigating. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, explains how such a link may be possible.
Nelson: To insert the genes into those cells that enable them to recognize the cancer 2 platforms are used, both of them viruses. Key is that the viruses themselves have been disabled but they promote the insertion of the new genes that then they insert they insert in many different places through the genome. And the worry is that they may have inserted in a place that would activate a gene that might be associated with cancer. :26
Nelson says a definitive answer to this question should be straightforward, and the fix may be some type of pre-infusion scrutiny to weed out possibly problematic cells. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.