Can new manufacturing approaches finally make a decades-old cell therapy idea a reality?
For over 30 years, cancer researchers have known something rather extraordinary, given how hard it normally is to treat advanced tumors.
If you just extract the T cells floating inside certain patients’ tumors— a 10 to 30 gram slice will do — expand those cells in a lab, and reinfuse them back into the patient, there’s a high likelihood those tumors will soon shrink. The NCI’s proof-of-principle experiment showed a 60% response rate in metastatic melanoma in 1988 — more than two decades before other immunotherapies would begin to change cancer care.
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