Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease according to the CDC. There are many kinds, but what they all have in common is that they start because of out-of-control growth of abnormal cells. For decades, scientists and medical professionals have researched this disease, and while a cure has yet to be found, there are revolutionary treatments, such as immunotherapy, that are available to treat cancer today.
Types of Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is treatment that uses parts of a person’s immune system to fight diseases. This can take the form of simulating the natural effects of a patient’s immune system so that it works harder and smarter to attack cancerous cells. In recent years, several types of immunotherapy have emerged.
T-Cell Transfer Therapy
T-cell transfer therapy is a treatment that boosts the natural ability of your thymus (T) cells to fight cancer. In this adoptive cell therapy treatment, immune cells are extracted from the patient’s tumor and those that are most active against cancer are selected for genetic modification in a lab. They are then reproduced and transfused into the patient’s body to act as treatment. A T-cell transfer therapy that has had tremendous success in recent years is CAR T-cell Therapy.
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
Immune checkpoint inhibitors are drugs that block immune checkpoints, a natural part of the immune system. Their job is to prevent an immune response from being so strong that it destroys healthy cells in the body. These checkpoints engage when proteins on the surface of immune cells (T-cells) bind to partner proteins on other cells, such as tumor cells. Immune checkpoint inhibitors work by blocking checkpoint proteins from binding with partner proteins, allowing the T-cells to destroy the cancerous cells.
Monoclonal antibodies are proteins created in the lab that are designed to bind to specific targets on cancer cells. Antibodies are naturally produced by your body. Their role is to help your immune system recognize germs that cause diseases, mark and eliminate them. Monoclonal antibodies are designed in a similar fashion and are meant to interact with certain “target” cells to destroy them.
FDA Approved Therapies
CAR T-cell therapy is an adoptive cell therapy that has had tremendous success. For decades, this therapy was restricted to small, clinical trials, but in recent years, it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cancer treatments. Currently, there are several FDA-approved therapies:
- Kymriah – approved for the treatment of children and young adults with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
- Yescarta – approved for the treatment of adults with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)
- Tecartus – approved for the treatment of advanced mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)
- Breyanzi – approved in February 2021 for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphomas
- Abecma – approved in March 2021 for adult patients with multiple myeloma
These therapies have been proven to be effective and they continue to show promising results.
Cancers Treated With Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is not as widely used as more traditional cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. However, immunotherapy drugs have been approved to treat several types of cancer, such as:
- Bladder cancer
- Brain cancer
- Breast cancer
How ThermoGenesis Can Help
ThermoGenesis Holdings Inc., is a pioneer and market leader in the development and commercialization of automated cell processing technologies for the cell and gene therapy fields. We market a full suite of solutions for automated clinical biobanking, point-of-care applications and large-scale cell processing and manufacturing with a special emphasis on the emerging CAR T immunotherapy market. We are committed to making the world a healthier place by creating innovative solutions for those in need.
For more information on the CAR-TXpress multi-system platform, please contact our Sales team.