Health Purifying cells to beat cancer

Purifying cells to beat cancer

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.

Support our universities as they battle to save lives – sign the petition to Keep It Clever now.