What is cancer?
This educational video explains how normal cells become cancer cells and how they escape the immune system to spread across the body.
How does the immune system fight cancer?
This educational video explains how NK cells and T-cells, two components of the immune system, identify, target and destroy abnormal cells.
Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cells (CAR T-cells)
Arming T-cells to target and kill cancer cells
A central player in cancer immunotherapies is a type of white blood cell known as the T‑cell which is equipped with cell killing mechanisms. In healthy subjects, T‑cells identify and kill infected or abnormal cells, including cancer cells. A Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) is engineered by inserting, in the DNA of a T‑cell, a sequence that will push the T‑cell to express an antibody designed to recognize and bind a specific antigen present on the cancer cell. Once the antibody/antigen binding has occurred, the T‑cell will destroy the targeted cancer cells. To make a CAR effective in killing cancer, a protein is added in the T‑cell and will act as the signal that will trigger cell killing. In an attempt to render the CAR‑T cells more potent, researchers have added other proteins in its construct, called co-stimulatory molecules, which are in charge of helping CAR‑T cells survive for a longer period of time and multiply in the body. Current clinical research in the CAR‑T field showed very encouraging results in cancer patients suffering from blood cancers (ex : CD19).
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