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Making it Better?


In a new study recently published in PNAS, researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center describe their approach to cancer immunotherapy, involving selecting and cloning an individual patient's T-cells, reports the Los Angeles Times' Melissa Healy. Using this method, the team was able to stop disease progression in six of the 11 patients with aggressive melanoma in the trial, Healy says. Another patient experienced a complete remission. "The key is to identify specific cancer-fighting cells already circulating in the blood of patients and make thousands of copies of them in the lab," Healy says. "This type of 'adoptive immunotherapy' could be effective against a wide range of cancers."

Several researchers have done work on the viability of immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. The Hutch researchers say their method has a better chance of success because they're more selective about the T-cells they choose to extract and clone. "Researchers drew blood from patients and scoured it to find the rare type of immune cell — a melanoma-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte cell — that specifically homes in on proteins expressed by the cancer," Healy says. "By choosing T-cells more selectively, patients can get by with much lower doses of [T-cell booster] interleukin-2, making the treatment less toxic."

The Scan

Vaccine Update Recommended

A US Food and Drug Administration panel recommends booster vaccines be updated to target Omicron, CNBC reports.

US to Make More Vaccines for Monkeypox Available

The US is to make nearly 300,000 vaccine doses available in the coming weeks to stem the spread of human monkeypox virus, according to NPR.

Sentence Appealed

The Associated Press reports that Swedish prosecutors are appealing the sentence given to a surgeon once lauded for transplanting synthetic tracheas but then convicted of causing bodily harm.

Genome Biology Papers on COVID-19 Effector Genes, Virtual ChIP-seq, scDART

In Genome Biology this week: proposed COVID-19 effector genes, method to predict transcription factor binding patterns, and more.