Keeping T cells strong and improving cancer immunotherapy

The tumour microenvironment can prevent some T cells from carrying out their immunotherapeutic duties. In this Q&A, Dr Brian Shy, Clinical Instructor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Laboratory Medicine, describes a recent study wherein he and fellow scientists discovered a strategy to strengthen T cells when fighting tumours.

To afford immunotherapies the highest chance of success against cancers, researchers have used CRISPR-based edits to make T cells more resilient and prevent them from exhaustion. The team from UCSF and Gladstone Institutes says its findings, published in Nature Biotechnology,1 may help to overcome a major factor that limits the achievements of cell therapies in the clinic.
According to the researchers, the genomic innovations on T cells could open avenues that combat the difficulties faced when developing highly effective and precisely targeted immunotherapies.