CAR T-Cell Therapy Successfully Treated Mice with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer


CAR T-Cell, or chimeric antigen receptor immunotherapy was recently used in a study to see if it could help prevent the spread of metastatic cancer. In the study humanized CAR T-Cell was successful at killing tumor cells as well as preventing it from spreading. The treatment may be useful for treating other types of cancers as well, as it has shown that it can significantly delay lung metastasis. The animals used in this study suffered no serious side effects and there were no other safety issues that arose with the animals being treated.

The CAR T-Cell Study

The study and its results were recently published in the Cancer Immunology Research journal. The CAR T-Cell therapy concept is a rather new one in relation to studying colorectal cancer and is beneficial for meeting a huge unmet need. The therapy includes collecting T-cells directly from the patient. T-cells are immune system cells which are helpful for developing a response against invaders. They are genetically engineered to recognize and attach to a protein or antigen that is on the surface of tumor cells. T-cells target and attack just cancer cells.

After the T-cells have been retrieved they are multiplied in a laboratory until there are several million of them. Then, they are infused back into the patient. Having so many T-cells targeting cancer cells at once offers a quick and effective response to the cancer cells. Two such therapies have been approved by the FDA and so far it’s been used successfully in patients who have been diagnosed with advanced B-cell type cancer. It is also approved for treating children who have acute lymphoblastic leukemia and for adults who have advanced lymphomas.

Successful CAR T-cell Therapy

For Car-T cell therapy to be successful, researchers will need to identify a specific cancer antigen, one which lets T-cells permeate cancer cells without affecting healthy tissues. One potential antigen is GUCY2C. In mice, CAR T-cell therapy has shown promising results toward attacking this particular protein and has been able to treat colorectal cancer metastases without having any harmful effects.

Based on the research that has already been done, researchers started testing human-ready GUCY2C in mice who had human colorectal tumor cells. The result was positive and encouraging as the treatment successfully killed the cancer. The mice that underwent the therapy survived and had no adverse effects. They were observed for 75 days with no negative effects.

The therapy was tested for effectiveness against colorectal cancer in late stages using mice who had the disease and lung metastases. These mice lived for another 100 days without detectable metastases compared to other mice that only survived on average, 20 days. Also reported by researchers were lab tests demonstrating the T-cells only attacked cancer cells with GUCY2C and cells without this particular surface antigen were ignored. There were no autoimmune responses or negative side effects observed as a result of the therapy. This suggests it is a safe option for treating metastatic colorectal cancer.