Genetically engineered dendritic cells enhance lung cancer therapy

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A study by researchers at the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in the US suggests that injecting engineered dendritic cells directly into cancerous lung tumours can help promote a stronger immune response.

When tested in mice with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the team discovered that combining this therapy with immune checkpoint blockade made it even more effective.

Although immune checkpoint blockade has been revolutionary for treating patients with NSCLC, the majority of patients do not benefit from the treatment, and many experience disease progression after an initial response.

Scientists have found that certain molecules called chemokines, specifically CXCL9 and CXCL10, play a crucial role in attracting immune cells, particularly activated T cells, to the tumour site.

To help enhance the effectiveness of immune checkpoint blockade, the UCLA team explored injecting immune-stimulating, chemokine gene-engineered dendritic cells directly into the tumour.

The scientists genetically modified dendritic cells to produce CXCL9 and CXCL10 and then injected these directly into the tumours in mouse models of NSCLC.

They found that this approach increased the number and activity of T cells in the tumour and slowed down tumour growth in these models, even in cases where tumours were resistant to standard immunotherapy.

Additionally, they observed that this therapy helped to establish a long-lasting immune response against the cancer.

The study was published in Cell Reports Medicine and led by Dr Steven Dubinett, Dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Dr Bin Liu, Adjunct Professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine.

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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