Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
New way of using natural killer cells makes immunotherapy viable to more patients

New way of using natural killer cells makes immunotherapy viable to more patients

Immunotherapy is making headlines for saving the lives of hundreds of cancer patients including former President Jimmy Carter. But many of these therapies, only work for a small portion of people who have a specific molecule called PDL1 in their cancer makeup.

UCF College of Medicine cancer researcher Dr. Alicja Copik has just discovered a way to make that therapy viable to thousands by using the body’s own natural killer (NK) cells in a new way. Her findings were recently published in OncoImmunology.

NK cells are part of the body’s defense system and act as an army to protect us from invaders like viruses and infections. Copik has discovered a way to make NK cells even more powerful – by stimulating them with nanoparticles that multiply them and heighten their killing ability. Her technology has been licensed and is now progressing to clinical trials as a therapy for leukemia and later for other cancers.

In her latest study, Copik discovered that her energized NK cells do even more. They change the cellular makeup of tumors – especially the molecular defenses cancers use to protect themselves from the body’s immune system. “Cancer is a very smart enemy,” Copik explained. “That’s why we have to use so many tools to fight it.”

Here’s what her research has uncovered:

For a malignant tumor to survive, cancers can place a protein molecule called PDL1 on their cells. The molecule tells the body’s immune system, “I’m one of your own cells, so don’t eat me” Copik said humorously. For patients with PDL1 on their cancers, new immunotherapy drugs use an antibody that blocks the PDL1 protection, allowing the body’s immune system to kill the cancer. These drugs have been very successful – even in stopping Stage 4, metastatic cancer and leading to long-lasting remissions- but only for patients whose tumors test positive for PDL1. Only 15 to 30 percent of patients — depending on the cancer — have PDL1 on their cancer cells.

Copik’s goal was to make PDL1 therapies effective for more patients. In the lab, she discovered that NK cells, stimulated with the nanoparticles developed in her lab, attack the tumor and induce it to present PDL1 – which the new drugs then can target. In her study, combining NK cells with the new immunotherapy drug lead to improved survival rates in mice with cancer. Recent work from other scientists has shown that once inside the tumor, NK cells go a step further – they recruit other immune cells to prime the immune system to attack cancer. “So these activated NK cells will work synergistically with these immunotherapies,” she said.

Activated NK cells have advantages over other cancer therapies. First, they seldom cause side effects like chemotherapy and radiation. And the NK cells don’t attack healthy cells. So cancer patients could safely receive additional NK cells from people who are not a 100 percent match. Because blood banks remove and discard NK cells when they collect blood platelets and plasma for donation, Copik said there is a potential for scientists to develop ways to save such NK cells for cancer therapies.

Copik envisions her new discovery can be joined with planned NK cell clinical trials. And she said UCF’s new comprehensive cancer treatment and research center – to be housed in the former Sanford Burnham Prebys research institute – will allow College of Medicine researchers even more opportunities to find a cure for cancer. The center will include basic scientists, like Copik, clinical researchers, cancer physicians and patients in the same facility. And the UCF researcher said such partnership will provide new opportunities for discovery – and inspiration.

“As a scientist, it’s important to know from physicians and patients, ‘Where are the gaps in treatment? Where are the challenges?’ You see where we should be directing our efforts,” she said. “And when you’re in the lab late at night you think about these patients. They are your motivation and your inspiration. You know we must do this work now because patients are waiting.”

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles