Natural killer T (NKT) cells, a type of immune cells known for their potent anti-cancer properties in murine tumor models, have been developed into a novel form of immunotherapy to treat patients with cancer.
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have genetically modified human NKT cells with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that enables them to specifically recognize and attack neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer. Expressed with the CAR is interleukin-15 (IL-15), a natural protein that supports NKT cell survival.
In the study, appearing in Nature Medicine, researchers present interim results from an ongoing clinical trial showing that the modified cells are safe, localize to tumors, and, in one of three patients, induced an objective response with regression of bone metastatic lesions.
Enhancing the tumor-fighting capabilities of NKT cells