Boosting T cell 'memory' may result in longer-lasting and effective responses for patients
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Credit: MD Anderson Cancer Center

Just like people, some T cells have excellent memories. These subtypes known as memory T cells may explain why some immunotherapies are more effective than others and potentially lead to researchers designing more effective studies using combination checkpoint blockade treatments, according to experts at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The study demonstrated that anti-CTLA-4 and anti- PD-1 immunotherapies together appear to enhance response rates and generate formation of memory T cells in mice vaccinated with melanoma cells. The combination could explain why relapse occurs in some patients with therapies targeting CTLA-4 and PD-1 checkpoints, which evade the body’s immune system.

Findings from the study conducted in the lab of checkpoint blockade pioneer, James Allison, Ph.D., chair of Immunology, were presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018 in Chicago.

“We are learning more about the differences between anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 therapies,” said Stephen Mok, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow of Immunology, who presented findings. “We know that while anti-PD-1 therapy has a greater response rate than anti-CTLA-4, one issue is the durability of the responses.”

Patients who receive anti-PD-1 have an

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