A multi-institutional team of researchers has developed a novel type of cellular immunotherapy that has proven its therapeutic effectiveness in mouse models. Comprised of a researcher from the German Cancer Research Center and a University Medical Center Mannheim physician, the team used NLGN4X-specific T cells to successfully kill brain tumor cells from mice.
NLGN4X (Neuroligin4X) is a protein that is involved in protein formation, and it occurs in large amounts in glioblastoma tumor cells even though they are barely present in healthy brain tissue. Glioblastoma is a type of brain cancer that originates in the nerve cell astrocytes within the spinal cord or brain before quickly invading and destroying healthy brain tissue. This type of brain tumor has a very low survival rate and is especially hard to treat due to its extreme invasiveness and aggressiveness.
Consequently, researchers are always studying new techniques for diagnosing and treating the condition to make it more responsive to cancer treatments like immunotherapy and improve long-term patient survival rates.
One common tactic among researchers and physicians involves isolating immune T-cells from patients, modifying them to enhance their anticancer properties, and implanting them into the patient. German Cancer Research Center researcher Lukas Bunse and his research team injected patients with an NLGN4X antigen fragment, collected blood samples and isolated T cells in the blood that had been activated by Neuroligin4X.
These activated T cells contained a T cell receptor capable of “recognizing” Neuroligin4X antigens. However, the researchers couldn’t collect enough T cells to effectively conduct cell therapy. Instead, they resorted to isolating the NLGN4X-specific T-cell receptor’s gene coding before using the coding to “teach” T cells how to recognize the glioblastoma-associated antigen. This technique allowed the scientists to produce T cells in numbers large enough to carry out cell therapy.
Furthermore, the T cells had an ability to detect cancer antigen NLGN4X and successfully killed brain tumor cells from mice in culture dishes. The research team noted that using transgenic NLGN4X-specific human T-cells to treat tumor-infected rats resulted in a treatment response rate of more than 40%, significantly shrinking the brain tumors and increasing the animals’ survival rates.
This technique represents a novel and potentially more effective means of treating glioblastoma tumors in humans. Lukas Bunse expects that treatments leveraging this technique will become more common as researchers develop new means of treating glioblastoma.
German Cancer Research Center department head and University Medical Center Mannheim’s director of the Department of Neurology Macheal Platten says the research team is now working to test the novel immunotherapy technique in clinical trials.
As these novel ways of treating brain cancers are further investigated, there is hope that the drugs being developed by companies such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: CNSP) will offer much needed relief to patients diagnosed with cancerous tumors in the brain and central nervous system.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CNSP
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