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Researchers mass produce reprogrammed T cells that target cancer cells

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Posted August 12, 2013
Differentiation of 1928z CAR–engineered T-iPSCs into CD19-specific functional T lymphocytes. (a) The study concept. Peripheral blood lymphocytes are reprogrammed to pluripotency by transduction with retroviruses encoding c-MYC, SOX2, KLF4 and OCT-4. The resulting T-iPSCs are genetically engineered to express a CAR and are then differentiated into T cells that express both the CAR and an endogenous TCR. Credit: Nature Biotechnology (2013) doi:10.1038/nbt.2678

Differentiation of 1928z CAR–engineered T-iPSCs into CD19-specific functional T lymphocytes. (a) The study concept. Peripheral blood lymphocytes are reprogrammed to pluripotency by transduction with retroviruses encoding c-MYC, SOX2, KLF4 and OCT-4. The resulting T-iPSCs are genetically engineered to express a CAR and are then differentiated into T cells that express both the CAR and an endogenous TCR. Credit: Nature Biotechnology (2013) doi:10.1038/nbt.2678

A team of researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has developed a method for mass producing T cells that have been reprogrammed using stem cell technology to target and destroy cancerous tumors. In their paper published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the team describes how they collected isolated T cells, reprogrammed them into stem cells, added a gene marker, than reprogrammed them back into T cells that are able to target cells in cancerous tumors.

This new effort builds on research conducted this past March where a team held clinical trials that showed that genetically modified T cells could be used to target and destroy tumors (that came about due to lymphoblastic leukemia). Though successful, that effort resulted in a difficult to employ therapy. In this second-stage, the researchers developed a technique that allowed for mass producing reprogrammed T cells, thereby making the therapy more easily applicable.

To mass produce the cells, the researchers started by extracting T cells from a donor mouse. Those T cells were then modified to reprogram them into stem cells. Next, the researchers transferred gene information from a disabled retrovirus into the stem cells. The final step was reprogramming the stem cells back into T cells. Because they contained new gene information the newly minted T cells were capable of attacking cancer cells. Once created, the T cells were then nurtured into reproducing naturally—creating up to 1000 copies of themselves. Those cells were then injected back into the original donor mouse where they set to work destroying tumor cells.

 

Read more at: Phys.org

 

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