Remote-control shoots laser at nano-gold to turn on cancer-killing immune cells
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IMAGE: A heat-sensitive gene switch implanted in a sample of T-cells works in an in vitro check. Gentle pulses from a near-infrared laser directed at gold nanoparticles, which are also in… view more 

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A remote command could one day send immune cells on a rampage against a malignant tumor. The ability to mobilize, from outside the body, targeted cancer immunotherapy inside the body has taken a step closer to becoming reality.

Bioengineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have installed a heat-sensitive switch into T-cells that can activate the T-cells when heat turns the switch on. The method, tested in mice and published in a new study, is locally targeted and could someday help turn immunotherapy into a precision instrument in the fight against cancer.

Immunotherapy has made headlines with startling high-profile successes like saving former U.S. President Jimmy Carter from brain cancer. But the treatment, which activates the body’s own immune system against cancer and other diseases, has also, unfortunately, proved to be hit-or-miss.

“In patients where radiation and traditional chemotherapies have failed, this is where T-cell therapies have shined, but the therapy is still new,” said principal investigator Gabe Kwong. “This study is a step toward making it

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