CAR-T immunotherapy, in which a body’s own T cells are reengineered to attack a patient’s tumor, has picked up steam in recent years. But T cells aren’t the only immune cells that scientists are tinkering with.
A team of researchers from the University of Central Florida has found that “natural killer cells” in the body may also play a compelling role in attacking cancer. It may be possible to enhance that response by taking immune cells from a cancer patient’s close blood relatives and infusing those into the patient to attack their tumors. Unlike CAR-T therapy, which so far is restricted to use in blood cancers, there’s hope that these NK cells could be used to treat solid tumors as well.
A new Florida startup, called Cyto-Sen Therapeutics, has licensed this technology and aims to bring the work to clinical trials by late next year. The company can grow the NK cells quickly in the lab, greatly augmenting their numbers.