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Immunotherapy for all blood cancers

A broad new strategy could hold hope for treating virtually all blood cancers with CAR T cell therapy.

University of Pennsylvania scientists demonstrated the efficacy of this approach in preclinical tests.

The researchers used engineered CAR T cells to target CD45—a surface marker found on nearly all blood cells, including nearly all blood cancer cells.

Because CD45 is found on healthy blood cells too, the research team used CRISPR base-editing to develop a method called “epitope editing” to overcome the challenges of an anti-CD45 strategy, which would otherwise result in low blood counts, with potentially life-threatening side effects.

The early results represent a proof of concept for epitope editing, which involves changing a small piece of the target CD45 molecule so the CAR T cells don’t recognise it, but it can still function normally within the blood immune system.

Image credit | Science-Photo-Library

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