Modified version of CAR T-cell therapy shows promise in targeting neuroblastoma

The development of CAR T cells has facilitated the treatment of blood tumors. Moreover, this therapy is not effective against solid tumors such as neuroblastoma and has even revealed toxic effects that are due to the fact that most of the antigens that the cancerous tissue has on its surface are also found in healthy tissue. However, a group of scientists at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles has developed a modified version of T CAR cells that looks promising for targeting neuroblastoma based on the preclinical phases. Their study was published in Nature Communications. The researchers used a new CAR T technology called Synthetic Notch (synNotch). SynNotch CAR T cells have a unique property. The special protein synNotch is designed to recognize the GD2 antigen. When this is the case, this protein instructs the cell to activate its CAR T properties, allowing it to recognize a second antigen: B7H3. By following these specific instructions, cells can only kill cells with both antigens and therefore mainly cancer cells. This triggering property minimizes toxicity because healthy cells will sometimes have low levels of one of the antigens but never both.


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