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CRISPR Treatment May Provide Lifelong Protection from Cancer

In a small human study, researchers from PACT Pharma have used CRISPR gene-editing technology to substitute a gene in a patient’s immune cells to redirect those cells to fight cancer.

The trial included 16 patients with different solid cancers such as breast, colon, and lung cancer. Researchers took blood samples and tumor biopsies from the patients. They also sequenced these samples to identify mutations specific to the patient’s cancer.

The researchers found 175 unique, cancer-specific immune receptors and used a certain algorithm to predict and prioritize which of these mutations can actually be recognized by the immune system.

One of the study authors Dr. Stefanie Mandl, chief scientific officer at PACT Pharma, explains: “Then we grow those cells to billions of cells in the dish. And then we give them back to the patient, so now we’re giving a lot of these T cells that are all specific to recognize the patient’s tumor back into the patient so that they can now find and kill the tumor cells. It’s basically a living drug that you give.”

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