Living drugs- the hottest trend in cancer care
Immune therapy is gaining popularity in cancer care and the next frontier is creating “living drugs” from blood to destroy tumours. An earlier wave of immunotherapy drugs- the kind used to treat former US President Jimmy Carter’s cancer- unmasks tumours so that “T-cells,” a kind of immune cell, can strike. Now doctors are reprogramming those T-cells to make them stronger and better at seeking out cancer. The process begins with removing T-cells from the patient’s blood. One of the ways researchers are altering them is through a virus engineered to instruct the T-cells to grow a chimeric antigen receptor. These T-cells then zero in on a specific type of cancer. Only major cancer centres are testing the living drugs in trials and they can hit the market later this year for some blood cancers.