In ground-breaking research, an Indian-American scientist, Dr Sunil Hingorani and his collegues have engineered T-cells, a type of immune cells, to break the pancreatic cancer's physical and immunological walls using immunotherapy. Dr Sunil Hingorani is, a member of the clinical research and public health sciences divisions at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre. He has created T-cells with a high affinity to a relatively tumour-specific antigen.
Dr Hingorani, a pancreatic cancer specialist, teamed up with Fred Hutch immunotherapy experts Drs. Phil Greenberg and Ingunn Stromnes in successful efforts to breach the cancer’s physical and immunological walls using immunotherapy, a type of treatment that harnesses or refines the body’s own immune system with T-cells engineered to recognize and destroy cancer cells. He found in the linings of the heart and lungs, which are expressed in unusually large amounts in the tumour cells. The T-cells were then engineered to attack them. In tests conducted on mice with pancreatic tumours, the engineered T-cells killed the cells over a 10-day period.
The Doctor and his team are also working to develop an enzyme that can help defeat the tumour’s high interstitial pressures and potentially open the door for greater penetration and effectiveness of T-cells and other types of agents.
By the year end Dr Hingorani hopes to have the human version of the T-cell in clinical trials.
The findings were recently presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2016 in New Orleans, USA.