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T-cell therapy offers great hope for cancer patients


CAR T-cell therapy is a cellular therapy that teaches the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.

Diagnosis of cancer remained limited for centuries during which no treatments were available, but this disease witnessed a treatment revolution within a few decades. However, innovations, despite their proliferation, have not replaced traditional treatments.


The diagnosis of cancer dates back to the time of ancient Egypt, before the Greek physician Hippocrates called it “karkinos”, meaning crab in Greek. The first treatments at the end of the nineteenth century were surgical operations aimed at removing the tumor. Surgery is still an “important therapeutic weapon” today, as noted by the hematologist and oncologist, Head of the Institut Curie Hospital Complex in Paris, Professor Stephen Le Gouy, who points out that “surgeons treat many tumors… including breast cancer, colon cancer, and sarcoma,” which It affects connective tissue cells.

However, surgery is also “a gateway to a large number of types of cancer, as thanks to it the availability of tumor tissue allows for diagnosis,” he explains.

Radiation therapy

Radiotherapy arose thanks to the progress made by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen, who discovered X-rays in 1895. Radiotherapy still plays a major role today, as more than 70 percent of cancer treatments include radiotherapy sessions. This treatment uses radiation (electrons, photons and protons) to destroy cancer cells. The downside of this treatment is that the radiation damages all the tissues it passes through.

A number of innovations are trying to address this, including high-precision radiation and powerful doses. Stephen Lugui explained that these innovations aim to provide “the greatest possible accuracy and deliver the strongest possible dose of radiation to the tumor, but avoid (infecting) healthy tissue.”


Chemotherapy is based on cytotoxic drugs consisting of several molecules, which also lead to the destruction of cancer cells. These treatments provide great effectiveness, for example, in the case of acute leukemia, although the negative side is that strong side effects often result from them, including hair loss.


There are two vaccines to prevent cancers caused by viruses, one against human papillomavirus and the other against hepatitis B (the cause of liver cancer). A lot of research has been conducted in recent years regarding “therapeutic vaccines”, which are based on the production of tumor antigens – by messenger RNA or viruses – that allow activating the immune system by generating the appropriate response in patients with cancer.

Targeted therapy

Over the last 20 years, targeted therapy has changed the lives of a large number of patients. It is a chemistry-derived molecule specifically designed to block or stop a molecular mechanism necessary for the development, reproduction or survival of cancer cells.


Immunotherapy is the most revolutionary development in recent years. It involves strengthening the patient’s immune system to help it track down and destroy cancerous cells. Immunotherapy relies on synthetic antibodies that are produced in a laboratory. There are several possible ways of working, such as targeting these antibodies to a protein present on the surface of cancer cells, as by focusing on the target cell, the antibody causes an anti-tumor effect, either directly or by stimulating the immune system.

Chimeric receptor T cell therapy

CAR T-cell therapy is a cellular therapy that teaches the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Cells of the patient’s immune system (often T lymphocytes) are taken, genetically modified in a laboratory and then re-injected into the patient’s body so that they can target cancer cells.

Biotechnology companies have also begun work on a chimeric T-cell receptor called allogeneic. In this case, scientists are modifying cells not from the patient’s own source, but from a genetically healthy vector. The effectiveness of chimeric receptor T-cells has been shown to treat blood cancers such as lymphomas, certain types of acute leukemia, and multiple myeloma. But this treatment is very expensive.

Professor Lugoi stresses the importance of “combining all these new methods and therapies to obtain a personalized plan for the patient,” expressing optimism by saying, “We have crossed an important threshold in our understanding of the cancer cell. It is true that the suffering of people with cancer is still strong, but very much progress has been made.”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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