According to a recent SciTechDaily article, researchers at the University of California San Francisco have developed a T cell-based immunotherapy that specifically targets cancer cells and produces anti-cancer cytokines. The cells deliver IL-2, an inflammatory molecule produced by the immune system that has powerful anti-cancer effects, supercharging T cells to eliminate cancer cells.
Systemic administration of IL-2 has been limited due to the severe side effects it can cause. The researchers programmed tumor-infiltrating T cells to make their own IL-2 when they encountered cancer cells, allowing the cytokine to be contained within the cancer and preventing side effects. The researchers tested the therapy on melanoma and pancreatic cancer in mice and found that it effectively eliminated the tumors. Lead author Greg Allen hopes to begin clinical trials in 2024.