CAR-T immunotherapies may have a new player
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IMAGE: Natural killer cells are immune cells that eliminate infected, foreign and cancer cells. view more 

Credit: NIAID

Emerging CAR-T immunotherapies leverage modified versions of patient’s T-cells to target and kill cancer cells. In a new study, published June 28 online in Cell Stem Cell, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and University of Minnesota report that similarly modified natural killer (NK) cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) also displayed heightened activity against a mouse model of ovarian cancer.

The findings are significant, say researchers, because NK cells may offer distinct advantages over T-cells, including the ability to safely deliver engineered NK cells in an off-the-shelf manner without patient matching.

“One of the main challenges of immunotherapy has been the clinical manufacture of modified cells,” said senior author Dan Kaufman, MD, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Regenerative Medicine and director of cell therapy at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We’ve shown that you can engineer iPSCs, create chimeric antigen receptor-expressing NK cells to better target refractory cancers that have resisted other treatments.”

CAR-T cell-based immunotherapies have garnered considerable attention and investment in recent years. T-cells, a type of

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