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Harnessing T cells to attack cancer

In chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapy, a patient’s T cells are harvested from a blood sample and DNA is introduced that encodes the instructions for a CAR, which targets the T cells to B cells. Engineered cells are then infused back into the patient. A CAR developed by Memorial Sloan Kettering against B cell cancer is depicted 1: Antibody fragment: recognises the target protein 2: CD28 fragment: stimulates T cell 3: CD3 fragment: activates T cell, which then kills the B cell 4: CD19 protein: target of the CAR-T. In T cell receptor (TCR) therapy, the patient’s T cells are extracted from their tumour, the cancer-recognising TCR is identified, cloned and the DNA code for this TCR is inserted into the patient’s younger and healthier T cells and then infused back into the patient. 5: Major histocompatibility complex displays cancer protein on cell surface 6: Cancer protein 7: T cell receptor: a clone of the patient’s cancer-recognising T cell receptor targets and activates the T cell so it kills the cancer cell.

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