The fight against cancer has been ongoing for many years, but finally we are closer than ever before to victory. A recent M.I.T publication talks about the amazing success of the development of the T cell.
Cellectis, a French biotechnology company, operating out of Manhattan USA, has been storing the T cells, at Great Ormand Street Children Hospital. T cells act as little robot soldiers, once they have entered the body, they begin to search for virus and infections, which are then targeted and destroyed. Thanks to Cellectis these T cells are reprogrammed to search, identify and destroy cancer cells.
Andre Choulika remembered the first time the treatment was used, in the case of 12 month old Layla Richards, who had exhausted Chemotherapy and all other treatments. Layla’s parents were out of option, and started to beg the doctor who was treating their daughter. At that time the fighter T cells sat in one of the fridges on the hospital site, however it was not tested on any other than mice, there were regulations and procedures needed to be implemented before the treatment could be given, as it was only a trial treatment. Andre Choulika remembered feeling as the choice was between doing all that was possible to save the life of the child, or adhered to regulations.
The treatment was issued and Layla fully recovered, Pfizer and Servier announced they would ante up $40 million to purchase rights to the treatment. The T cell treatment has been in development since 2011.
“The T cell has a huge potential for killing. But the thing you can’t do is inject T cells from Mr. X into Mr. Y,” Choulika says. “They’d recognize Mr. Y as ‘non-self’ and start firing off at everything, and the patient will melt down.” But if the T cells are stripped down with gene editing.” M.I.T
“Cellectis began developing the treatment in 2011 after doctors in New York and Philadelphia reported that they’d found a way to gain control over T cells, the so-called killer cells of the immune system. They had shown that they could take T cells from a person’s bloodstream and, using a virus, add new DNA instructions to aim them at the type of blood cell that goes awry in leukemia. The technique has now been tested in more than 300 patients, with spectacular results, often resulting in complete remission. A dozen drug firms and biotechnology companies are now working to bring such a treatment to market.” – M.I.T