publication date: Jul. 13, 2018

Immunologists seek ways to make TIL in solid tumors as effective as CAR T in blood cancers

By Matthew Bin Han Ong

For more than four decades, Steven Rosenberg’s work on tumor infiltrating lymphocytes has met with equal measures of skepticism and cheer—but now, as more patients across multiple cancer types respond to cell transfer immunotherapy, researchers are eager to join the movement Rosenberg indisputably leads.

“We are working hard on many improvements, but the fact that we’re able to get responses in four different epithelial cancer types is, to me, a very encouraging result for the potential value of this kind of approach,” Rosenberg, chief of the Surgery Branch, senior investigator, and head of the Tumor Immunology Section at NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, said to The Cancer Letter.

“Now, I grant that our new approach is quite complex, but if one has to develop effective cancer treatments, and one of the criteria has to be that they’re very simple—well, that’s just too high a bar to reach. We need to find treatments that work, and then find ways to make them widely available.”

A conversation with Rosenberg appears here.

On June 4, NCI announced that Rosenberg’s lab had produced complete regression of refractory hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer in a patient, who has now been cancer-free for almost three years.

Rosenberg and his team treated Judy Perkins, the patient, with TIL that recognized four modified or novel peptide sequences—neoantigens—unique to her breast cancer.

“This was a patient who failed multiple lines of prior therapy, as is the case for the solid tumor patients that Steve takes care of in his program,” NCI Director Ned … Continue reading Immunologists seek ways to make TIL in solid tumors as effective as CAR T in blood cancers

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