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A new study published in The Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer has shown that CAR T-cell therapy could be effective in treating ovarian cancer. CAR T-cell therapy is a form of treatment for cancer whereby T cells become conditioned to attack cancerous cells.

Researchers make a discovery on the use of T-cells to target tumors 

Karolinska Institutet researchers are optimistic that the discovery could clear the path for a scientific study to see the effectiveness of the treatment in women with ovarian cancer. 

CAR T-cell treatment is a recent immunotherapy form that entails removing immune cells from a person’s blood and inoculating them with a gene that targets a molecule known as a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) on the tumor cell’s surface. T cells are more aggressive when reintroduced to patients, and they launch targeted attacks on tumor cells. 

Isabelle Magalhaes,  joint study author, said that the therapy is presently available for blood cancer patients, and they are looking to study if the method can be used for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Despite several improvements to existing therapy, ovarian cancer prognosis in women is still poor. Up to no CAR T-cell therapy has been ineffective against solid tumors.  

Tumors grow in areas not favorable for T cells survival  

Karolinska Institutet’s Jonas Mattsson and the study’s second joint last author said tumors usually crop up in environments that don’t favor T cells because of low oxygen levels. Therefore this causes attacking T cells to be neutralized, impairing the therapeutic effect. Mattsson said they wanted to establish if it could still work. 

Most ovarian cancer tumors have mesothelin, and researchers were looking to assess three different kinds of CAR molecules programmed to attack the protein. They repetitively exposed cancerous cells to programmed chimeric antigen receptor T-cells in the lab and performed several trials on mice. 

Surprisingly, all the CAR T-cells extended the rodenst with cancer ‘s lives relative to the placebo group, that showed the M1xx CAR T cells to be  more effictive. The mice were given T-cells which show that specific molecule, and they had a decrease in tumor size, and mice lived longer relative to others.