Hello Beautiful People!
I hope all is well with everyone! We are so appreciative to our community and continuously thank you and God for showing us how supported we are. You’re the best!
Next up in the immunotherapy’s column, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes vaccine. According to mdanderson.org;
What is a tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte?
Lymphocytes, or white blood cells, are an important part of the immune system that helps the body fight off infections or eliminate diseased cells. Lymphocytes, made up of T cells and B cells, are constantly patrolling the body to identify cells that shouldn’t be present, including cancer.
As cancers grow, lymphocytes recognize these cells as abnormal and penetrate into the tumor. These are the tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, or TILs.
Once in the tumor, the TILs begin working to kill cancer cells. Sometimes, they’re prevented from doing that by brakes in the immune system or signals from the tumor that weaken the immune response. Immune checkpoint inhibitors were developed to block some of those brakes and unleash the immune cells to attack cancer.
We also can use the TILs themselves, with some improvements, as a form of cell therapy.
How can these cells be used for cancer therapy?
Because TILs come directly from the tumor, they already recognize many targets on the cancer cells. This makes them a very attractive therapy because we don’t have to do anything to point them toward the tumor.
That’s different from CAR T cells, for example, which must be genetically engineered to recognize one, or maybe two, targets. A group of TILs taken from a patient’s tumor may recognize many unique targets. This offers a real therapeutic advantage because it prevents the tumor from evading our efforts by hiding one target at a time.
To use TILs as a therapy, we must help them overcome the hurdles in the tumor environment and effectively eliminate the cancer. We can do this in two ways:
- expanding the TILs
- engineering them with certain attributes
By expanding the TILs, we can give the patient a much larger army of immune cells that is already trained to recognize and attack that patient’s specific tumor.
Engineering TILs enhances their ability to fight the cancer cells. There are several research projects in this area ongoing at MD Anderson. For example, we can genetically engineer TILs to be resistant to signals coming from the tumor that normally turn off the T cells .
What’s the treatment process for patients who undergo TIL therapy?
Currently, TIL therapies are only available through clinical trials. For patients who enroll in a TIL clinical trial, the process begins with a tumor biopsy. That biopsy is then taken to a clinical laboratory, such as our Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility, to isolate the TILs.
That highlighted statement of availability was certainly not surprising to me. Why wouldn’t this be available to anyone that it could help? So many questions.
Advocate for yourself and your family!
An abundance of grace, peace, and love to you all.