Researchers from South Australia (SA) have developed a new approach in the fight against cancer which could reduce costs and side effects.
A team from the University of South Australia (UniSA) and bio-therapeutics company Carina Biotech on Tuesday announced they have developed a novel cancer treatment based on using microfluidic technology to “purify” chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T) cells, the bioengineered immune cells that are the basis of cellular immunotherapy — a transformative cancer therapy that harnesses the power of a patient’s immune system to fight their cancer.
Mona Elsemary, a PhD student from UniSA’s Future Industries Institute, said the new approach effectively purifies CAR-T cells prior to infusion to patients.
By purifying the cells, 90 percent of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) which can cause severe allergic reactions and toxic side effects in patients in the CAR-T cells are removed.
“CAR-T therapy has produced some remarkable results against blood cancers and there is a huge international research effort underway to transform this success into producing CAR-T treatments for solid cancers,” Elsemary said in a media release.
“However, the CAR-T manufacturing process continues to be hindered by significant barriers and high costs — preventing the full potential of this life-saving therapy being reached,” she added.
Researchers said Elsemary’s research could greatly benefit patients by reducing both manufacturing cost and side-effects commonly associated to the CAR-T cell therapy.