New receptor genes turn T-cells into powerful liver cancer foes

IMAGE: This is Dr. Yukai He in his Georgia Cancer Center lab. view more 

Credit: Phil Jones, Senior Photographer, Augusta University

AUGUSTA, Ga. (April 3, 2018) – Mouse genes that make human T cells powerful at fighting liver cancer could one day help patients do the same, scientists report.

Georgia Cancer Center scientists exposed mice genetically manipulated to respond to human antigens to a common antigen found in human liver cancer.

The antigen got the attention of the immune system, and the result was some of the mouse T cells developed the ability to target a cancer that’s incidence and death rates are on the rise in the United States.

The scientists took the genes for the most effective liver cancer antigen receptors on those T cells, put those receptors on human T cells and the resulting engineered human T cells eradicated the cancer as well, without hurting normal liver cells, they report in the journal Hepatology.

“These T cells are very potent and can kill human liver cancer both in a dish and in a mouse,” says corresponding author Dr. Yukai He.

In fact, large human liver cancer tumors on comparatively small mice started regressing about 20 days


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