It is well known that we all have immune cells in our bodies that protect us at all times - T cells. When a cell becomes cancerous, T cells receive the relevant signal and precisely identify and remove the cancerous cells. However, when T cells make mistakes, they give cancer cells the opportunity to expand. For example, cancer cells disguise themselves from T-cells, or the number of T-cells in the body is too small to fully remove cancer cells. It is this that medical researchers have exploited to keep researching the use of immune methods to treat cancer, and they have finally achieved results. Two scientists, American immunologist James P Alison and Japanese immunologist Tasuku Honjo, pioneered immunotherapy and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for it, and also proved the feasibility of using one's own immune cells to clear tumors.
With the development and update of medical technology, the technology of immunotherapy for cancer is gradually known and the clinical effect has been recognized. Today, we give you a summary of the four existing T-cell based immunotherapy methods in China: CAR-T, TCR-T, TILs, and CTL.
I. CAR-T treatment, the first recipients of treatment have been cancer-free for 10 years
CAR-T therapy is Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T Cell Immunotherapy, and the T is the immune T cells in our body. It is done by extracting the target T cells, loading them with a "navigation" device that accurately identifies cancer cells, giving them the ability to more accurately identify cancer cells and expand their number, and then returning these immune cells to the patient's body for the purpose of treating cancer.
The first 17-year-old cancer patient to benefit from the therapy since its application, Emily, has been successfully cancer-free for 10 years, which is the longest known feedback time after receiving CAR-T therapy.
There are now seven such therapies approved worldwide, with two CAR-T products approved for marketing in our country alone.
Second, TCR-T therapy officially challenges solid tumors such as liver cancer and pancreatic cancer
TCR-T therapy technology is T-cell receptor chimeric T-cell technology also known as affinity-enhanced TCR technology. The principle utilized is also to enhance the recognition ability of T cells to cancer cells by genetic modification of T cells to enhance the recognition of T cells to achieve the effect of tumor clearance. International medical teams have made significant breakthroughs in the field of TCR-T for solid tumors.
TCR-T for liver cancer: An international medical team has successfully developed "LioCyx-M" therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma caused by viral hepatitis B. The transfection of messenger RNA (mRNA) encoding the HBV antigen-specific TCR allows the modified T cells to precisely identify and remove HBV-expressing cancer cells. In clinical trials, multiple immune T-cell transfusions were administered to two liver transplant patients without treatment-related adverse effects, and one of the liver cancer patients had a significant reduction in metastases. Clinical trials of this therapy in China and abroad are still ongoing, and many patients with liver cancer have been successfully enrolled, and better clinical data are expected to be published.
TCR-T for pancreatic cancer: In a clinical trial of one patient with advanced pancreatic cancer who had previously failed other treatments, treatment with TCR-T targeting the KRAS G12D mutation in the gene resulted in the elimination of nearly 72% of the tumor lesions in the body, which also gave pancreatic cancer patients hope for treatment.
Three, TILs therapy, has been successfully fighting cancer for more than 12 years, the market is expected
The treatment involves stripping TIL cells from the tissue surrounding the tumor lesion and adding IL-2 growth factors to expand them in vitro, then infusing the heavily expanded cells back into the patient to increase the immune response. Its characteristics have the advantages of: polyclonality, individuality, and durability. At last year's American Cholangiocarcinoma Annual Meeting, 1 patient with advanced cholangiocarcinoma who has been successfully cancer-free for 12 years so far described her own successful experience of tumor regression from a systemic tumor through the use of TILs therapy, and her case was published in the international journal "Science". The treatment was approved by the FDA and is scheduled to be formally submitted for marketing this year. Also in China, the first TIL treatment, GT101, has been approved by the Chinese Drug Administration and clinical trials are currently underway.
TILs therapy studies have shown great potential in malignant solid tumors such as cervical, lung, sarcoma, colorectal, and breast cancers.
IV. MTCA-CTL therapy, domestic drugs have been approved
Likewise, MTCA-CTL therapy, a new generation of immune cell therapy, by adding a variety of specific antigens and amplifying T cells in vitro culture back into the patient, this therapy with precise clearance of tumor cells also generates immune memory for lasting clearance of diseased cells.
KACM001, the first MTCA-CTL immune cell therapy drug in China, has also been approved and is currently in a clinical trial program for the treatment of advanced unresectable or metastatic gastric cancer. Test-eligible patients can also be enrolled, and we are looking forward to better clinical data to be published.
The continuous breakthroughs in immunotherapy technology have also brought new hope and light to patients with malignant tumors. Not only a large number of relevant clinical trials are carried out abroad, but we are also actively doing clinical research in China to accelerate the technological development of immune cells in the field of tumor. We believe that with the continuous efforts of medical researchers and the support of cancer patients, China's medical technology will be able to advance high and rank among the international advanced treatment level.
At the same time, cancer patients are reminded that tumors must be treated under the guidance of regular hospitals and authoritative experts. In addition to conventional and effective treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, etc., they should also combine their actual conditions such as disease location, economic status, and genetic mutations to carry out comprehensive treatment to achieve the purpose of prolonging survival time and improving quality of life.