Dr Christopher E. Rudd, a researcher at the Centre de recherche de l'Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (CR-HMR) and Université de Montréal, has discovered a new cell therapy approach that boosts the immune response of T lymphocytes to malignant tumours.
"Our work has identified a new T-cell protein that interacts with the key receptor that detects and responds to cancer antigens," says Prof. Rudd. "We have used those findings to develop a new form of immunotherapy in which hyperactivation of T cells enables them to penetrate and attack tumours. This discovery demonstrates that modulation of the identified protein can activate the immune system and lead to destruction of the cancer cells."
To date, the effectiveness of the new form of immunotherapy against leukemia and some skin cancers has been demonstrated in animals. The next stage will be clinical trials with human subjects.
"This discovery is a scientific breakthrough that will have significantly enhance the immune system's effectiveness in eliminating cancer cells," says Dr. Denis-Claude Roy, scientific and medical director of the Center of Excellence in Cellular Therapy and CR-HMR.
Eventually, this approach could also improve the effectiveness of the new CAR‑T cell therapy currently being used at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont.