Skip to Main Content
Contribute Try STAT+ Today

In a dark lab, a sedated mouse laid face down on the counter, its backside bald where lab members had shaven clean a patch. Then, in the middle of the bald spot, its rump began to glow, washing its hindquarters in pale blue light. In the dim room, it lit up like a firefly in the night. “The postdocs started jumping around,” said Yun Huang, a cancer biologist at Texas A&M University. “It was like magic.”

Huang and colleagues are hoping that tiny glowing spot could one day lead to a breakthrough that will advance one of the most promising cancer treatments on the market, CAR-T cell therapy. Theirs is a new version of the CAR-T cell, a modified immune cell that’s been engineered and juiced up to fight cancer tumors. Called LiCAR-T cells, these new CAR-T cells only activate in the presence of blue light, which scientists can use to paint a target onto tumors — and they hope this can make the therapy safer and more effective.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


What is it?

STAT+ is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.

What's included?

  • Daily reporting and analysis
  • The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day
  • STAT+ Conversations
  • Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations
  • Exclusive industry events
  • Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country
  • The best reporters in the industry
  • The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry
  • And much more
  • Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr.

Create a display name to comment

This name will appear with your comment