In 10 seconds? Scientists are refreshing T cells that live inside tumors to treat skin cancer. This approach might help patients who have no other treatment options left.
‘Refreshing’ T cells—what’s that? I thought you might ask. Let’s start with some background. Remember, T cells are immune cells that can kill cancerous cells. However, tumors employ a bunch of sneaky tricks to prevent T cells from working correctly. New cancer treatments called immune checkpoint inhibitors help bolster T cells to kill tumors but they aren't a silver bullet. Although checkpoint inhibitors have dramatically improved treatment outcomes for many patients with advanced-stage skin cancer, still 40-65% of the rest of these patients fail to respond to these treatments. Recent studies employing a ‘cellular therapy’ have shown promising results in skin cancer patients who aren’t helped by checkpoint inhibitors.