CRISPR-Cas technology offers promising results against solid tumors - SIMPLYSHAN.COM

CRISPR-Cas technology offers promising results against solid tumors

For the first time, genetic scissors CRISPR were used in a phase I clinical trial. Sixteen patients with cancer (melanoma, colorectal, lung, breast, prostate or ovarian cancer) in therapeutic impasse were included in the test. The patients’ white blood cells were collected. Thanks to genetic scissors, genes of interest have been modified inside white blood cells. Then, these were reinjected into the patient. The disease was thus stabilized in five out of sixteen patients. Even if the success is partial on the clinical level and that much progress remains to be made, it is a proof of the scientific concept. The work has been published in the prestigious journal Nature.

What is a TCR?

The white blood cells taken from the patients were T cells. These have the ability to recognize diseased cells (infected with a virus or become cancerous) and destroy them. It is thanks to a protein located on their surface (a TCR receptor) that T cells distinguish the cells to be destroyed from those to be spared. The TCR receptor binds to an antigen located on the surface of the suspect cell. Depending on the nature of the antigen, the T cell identifies whether it is a diseased cell or a healthy cell. So why can’t cancer patients fight off cancer cells on their own? Because the T cells with the TCR capable of recognizing cancer cells are not numerous enough to destroy them.

T cells are able to destroy cancer cells.  © peterschreiber.media, Adobe Stock

T cells are able to destroy cancer cells. © peterschreiber.media, Adobe Stock

Modify the TCR of T cells

This is where researchers come in. By removing a piece of the patient’s tumor and T cells circulating in the blood, they are able to select T cells possessing the TCR capable of recognizing cancerous cells. It only remains to replace the TCR of a large number…

> Read more about Futura

Leave a Comment