Huge strides are being made in the realm of Immuno-Oncology by a team of scientists at Sichuan University in West China. Nature reports that for the first time — as part of a clinical trial — an individual with aggressive lung cancer has been injected with their own cells engineered to express edited genes leveraging the CRISPR-Cas9 technique and targeting the PD-1 encoding gene. PD-1, which upon T-cell activation blocks the recognition of cancer cells as a foreign entity, impedes the immune responses innate ability to disrupt tumor cell proliferation. The CRISPR-Cas9 strategy combines a DNA-cutting enzyme along with molecular guide that can identify targets (such as PD-1) and replace the removed sequence with stretches of non-coding DNA.
Lu You and his team accomplished this portion of the clinical trial by removing immune cells from the recipient’s blood and using the CRISPR-Cas9 technology to disable the PD-1 gene. Subsequently, the cells were cultured to increase yield and then injected back into the patient. The hypothesis is that by incapacitating PD-1, the edited cells will recognize cancer cells as a foreign entity and thus disrupt their growth.
In moving forward with therapies pertaining to Immuno-Oncology, it is imperative that targets and biomarkers are thoroughly investigated and validated prior to moving into clinical trials. At BIOIVT we understand the ethical magnitude of taking on research services projects and have extensive experience in this therapeutic area. Our scientists can work with you to conceptualize high-quality experimental design, execution, data interpretation and reporting.
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