Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Attack of the Killer T-Cells


A new study in Nature Medicine showcases the work of MIT researchers, who are working on ways of using the body's own immune system T-cells as delivery vehicles for cancer drugs, says New Scientist's Ferris Jabr. T-cells attack tumors, but to fight them off, many tumors emit a chemical cocktail to weaken the T-cells and keep them away. MIT researchers found they could attach 100 nanoparticle capsules to a single T-cell without impairing its function, Jabr says. They can then fill the capsules with any number of drugs. When the team filled the capsules with interleukins, attached them to the T-cells, and injected them into mice with bone and lung cancer, the T-cells not only "swarmed" over the tumors, but kept attacking for far longer than normal T-cells do, Jabr says. In addition, mice injected with normal T-cells died within 30 days, while mice injected with the beefed up T-cells survived and improved during the same time frame. Massive doses of interleukins throughout the body have been shown to be toxic to patients, Jabr says, but the MIT researchers believe they've found a way to focus the interleukins' action, making them more effective and less toxic.

The Scan

Latent HIV Found in White Blood Cells of Individuals on Long-Term Treatments

Researchers in Nature Microbiology find HIV genetic material in monocyte white blood cells and in macrophages that differentiated from them in individuals on HIV-suppressive treatment.

Seagull Microbiome Altered by Microplastic Exposure

The overall diversity and the composition at gut microbiome sites appear to coincide with microplastic exposure and ingestion in two wild bird species, according to a new Nature Ecology and Evolution study.

Study Traces Bladder Cancer Risk Contributors in Organ Transplant Recipients

In eLife, genome and transcriptome sequencing reveal mutation signatures, recurrent somatic mutations, and risky virus sequences in bladder cancers occurring in transplant recipients.

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.