This is welcome news, considering pancreatic cancer is an exceptionally lethal cancer that has so far resisted new immunotherapies.
The research project will collect T cells – the immune system’s targeted warriors – from tumors, expand their number by the billions and then customize them to resist being shut down by a common substance that’s abundantly produced in tumor tissue.
SUTC is a charitable program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and it aims to raise significant funds for cancer research through online and televised efforts. SUTC is famous for televised events to raise money for cancer research, and funds collected are distributed by the American Association for Cancer Research.
“We’re encouraged by Stand Up to Cancer’s support for this potential approach to more efficiently target and overwhelm solid tumors with an immune response,” said project leader Dr. Patrick Hwu, head of MD Anderson’s Division of Cancer Medicine and chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology.
While drugs and therapies that use T cells to attack cancer have shown some success in more than a dozen cancers, those same therapies have been less effective against pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Hwu is a pioneer in the field of adoptive cell therapy using tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) – a process of capturing T cells that have attacked a patient’s tumor, expanding them in the lab, and then re-infusing them in the patient by the billions, so SUTC’s support can really help facilitate a breakthrough.
So with SUTC support and Dr. Hwu and his team, effective treatment for pancreatic cancer can be well on its way!