Potential of manipulating gut microbiome to boost efficacy of cancer immunotherapies
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PHILADELPHIA -The composition of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract may hold clues to help predict which cancer patients are most apt to benefit from the personalized cellular therapies that have shown unprecedented promise in the fight against hard-to-treat cancers, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Reporting in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insights, a team led by senior author Andrea Facciabene, PhD, a research assistant professor of Radiation Oncology and Obstetrics/Gynecology, found that the effectiveness of adoptive T cell therapy (ACT) in mice with cancer is significantly affected by differences in the natural makeup of gut bacteria and treatment with antibiotics. The team also found that the use of fecal transplants – which are increasingly used for treating recurrent C. difficile colitis – affected the efficacy of ACT between different strains of lab rodents. ACT enlists a patient’s own immune system to fight diseases, such as cancer and certain infections. T cells are collected from a patient and grown in the lab to increase the number of tumor-killing T cells. . The pumped-up cells are then given back to the patient as reinforcements to the body’s natural anti-tumor immune response.

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