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'Smart' immune cells kill more cancer

itionally are used in immunotherapy strategies because they are easy to obtain and grow, they often don't recognize the tumor," says Borrello.

"In the case of myeloma, we believe the marrow T-cells have certain surface markers that may help them migrate back to the site of the tumor," he says. "Moreover, the marrow itself contains some type of stimulant to attract the cells," says Kimberly Noonan, researcher and first author of the paper.

To treat patients, the scientists will collect a small amount of bone marrow from patients and with relative ease, grow and activate large numbers of T-cells from that source. These would then be given intravenously back to patients. However, according to Borrello, they may find that an additional cancer vaccine may increase the overall anti-tumor effect of the marrow T-cells.

They also believe that patients with other blood, bone marrow and solid tumors such as breast cancer may benefit from this type of immunotherapy. Evidence from other research groups indicates that breast cancer patients have T-cells in their bone marrow that are specific to their tumor.

Myeloma strikes close to 16,000 Americans annually and kills 11,300.

Other participants of this research include William Matsui, Paolo Serafini, Rebecca Carbley, Gladys Tan, Hyam Levitsky, and Katherine Whartenby from Johns Hopkins; and Jahan Khalili and Mark Bonyhadi from Xcyte Therapies.


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Contact: Vanessa Wasta
wastava@jhmi.edu
410-955-1287
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
1-Mar-2005


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