NEW RESEARCH FROM THE TRUDEAU INSTITUTE HOLDS PROMISE FOR CANCER IMMUNOTHERAPY TREATMENTS
New research from the Trudeau Institute laboratory of Dr. Edward L. Pearce (Washington University in St. Louis) has promising implications for improving a treatment for cancer known as cellular immunotherapy. The findings were just published in the The Journal of Immunology.
One of the major hurdles in treating cancer patients is the fact that most cancers actively suppress our immune system, thereby stifling the patient’s ability to fight the disease. To overcome this obstacle, treatments have been designed to harvest immune cells from the cancer patient’s blood, activate these cells outside the patient, and then inject the activated cells back into the patient to jumpstart their immune response against the cancer.
Studying melanoma cancer in mice, Trudeau researchers found that activating immune cells in the presence of a class of drugs that affects cell metabolism can further boost the ability of cellular immunotherapy treatments that combat melanoma tumors.
“We found that this cellular drug treatment increases the activation period of the immune cells, so that when we inject them back into mice bearing melanoma tumors, we get larger immune responses against the tumors and better control of tumor growth,” said Eyal Amiel, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at Trudeau and lead author of The Journal of Immunology study. Ongoing investigations from the study’s authors will lead to human trials, improving immunotherapy treatments for those effected by many types of cancer.
About the Trudeau Institute
The Trudeau Institute is a nonprofit biomedical research center founded in 1884 by Dr. E.L. Trudeau. The Institute’s fundamental research on immunity fosters the development of vaccines, treatments and cures for many life-threatening diseases, including cancer, tuberculosis and influenza. The Institute is supported by federal and state grants and contributions from individuals, private foundations and corporations. For further information about the Trudeau Institute, go to www.trudeauinstitute.org.
Publication: Amiel E, Everts B, Freitas TC, King IL, Curtis JD, Pearce EL, Pearce EJ. Inhibition of mTOR promotes dendritic cell activation and enhances therapeutic autologous vaccination in mice. Published online August 1, 2012. The Journal of Immunology