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A team of researchers from Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles in the United States has modified T Cells to identify and target multiple sites on acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells.   

Although most children with leukemia respond well to chemotherapies, some of them experience resistance or relapsed diseases when going through the therapy hence, the development of CAR-T therapies happened.   

CAR-T therapy uses the patient’s T Cells to isolate and genetically modify it to identify CD-19, a protein found on leukemia cells. When the T cells are introduced back into the patient, the immune system attacks cancer.

Though initial treatment using CAR-T therapy showed good results, nearly half of patients who receive this therapy later relapsed because cancer stops producing the protein CD-19 and becomes invisible to the T cells.  

However, according to the new research study, the new CAR-T cell therapy also known as TriCAR T Cells will be targeting CD-19, CD-20 and CD-22 which are significantly more effective than T Cells that target only CD-19. It showed that when the leukemia cells stopped producing CD-19, the TriCAR T cells were still effective.   

Lead investigators Dr. Azim and Dr. Ahmed of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital said that this new therapy is like using a trident to attack cancer instead of a spear as the team have developed a three-pronged weapon against leukemia cells in its Pre-Clinical Studies which showed successful results in both Vitro and animal models.

Dr. Azim and Dr. Ahmed added that these CAR T cells bind to more cancer cells and these connections are much stronger as not only do they bind better, but they bind continuously.   

They have highlighted that another clinical trial will be needed before the new CAR-T therapy could be implemented for use on patients, the early lab results point the way to a path that could be significantly more effective in battling the resistant leukemia disease. 

(Source: Drug Target Review, 2020)