A cutting-edge, relatively new treatment for cancers has become much safer thanks to Australian research.
Currently used to treat some blood cancers, CAR T-cell therapy, where a patient’s own T-cells are bioengineered to kill cancer cells, comes with some risk.
Problems include the presence of non-viable cells and other debris, as well as contamination by chemicals used in the production, freezing and storage process.
But now a University of South Australia team has developed a novel microfluidic technology to purify the engineered T-cells before they are released into a patient.
Researchers say the method could easily be integrated within an automated processing system in non-sterile environments.
Team member and PhD student Mona Elsemary said the impurities can cause severe allergic reactions and toxic side effects in some patients.
“CAR-T therapy has produced some remarkable results against blood cancers and there is a huge international research effort underway to transform this success into producing CAR-T treatments for solid tumours,” she said.
“However, the CAR-T manufacturing process continues to be hindered by significant barriers and high costs – preventing the full potential of this life-saving therapy being reached.”
The research could greatly benefit patients by reducing both manufacturing cost and side-effects commonly associated with CAR T-cell therapy.
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