Fred Hutch study discovers rare set of cells that are highly effective at fighting cancer

A new study has found some rare T-cells that are especially effective at fighting cancer, reports Claire McGrane for GeekWire.

T-cells are immune system attackers of invading viruses and other harmful organisms. There are several kinds of T-cells, each with different receptors used to attack harmful cells.

new study published on February 24 by scientists at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, along with new cell-tracking technology finds that some rare T-cells are particularly effective in attacking cancer cells. This finding could prove useful in  reprogramming T-cells to fight cancer in individuals, a process known as CAR-T immunotherapies.

The study examined 10 melanoma patients, reprogramming some of their T-cells to find and destroy cancer. The reprogrammed T-cells were  multiplied in a lab, then reintroduced into the patients’ bloodstreams.

Using new tracking techniques, researchers were able to see which kinds of T-cells were best at fighting cancer. A very rare (2 out of 5,000 cells) T-cell type was especially useful in destroying cancer cells.

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