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T-cell films show promise as cancer-fighting therapy

T-cell film
A diagram shows how a thin film of patterned nitinol can be used to hold CAR T cells, with fibrin protein used as a binding agent. (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Graphic)

Researchers at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have demonstrated the effectiveness of a new method for getting immune cells to fight solid tumors — by spreading them like jam onto ultra-thin sheets of metal mesh, and then laying the mesh onto the tumors.

So far, the technique for delivering genetically engineered T cells has been used only on mice — but the preclinical study published today in Nature Biomedical Engineering could help set the stage for the mesh to be used on humans as well.

“Cell therapies to fight cancer have had great success in blood cancers, but haven’t worked well with solid tumors,” senior study author Matthias Stephan, a faculty member in the Fred Hutch Clinical Research Division, explained in a news release.

“Our findings take a significant step toward making cell therapies effective against solid tumors by showing that a thin metal mesh loaded with T cells engineered to fight ovarian cancer cleared tumors in 70% of the treated mice,” he said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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