The immune system plays an important role in health protection. With its outstanding discrimination performance, the system is able to precisely distinguish between the self and non-self made substances and mobilize the immunocytes in order to combat the targeted foreign viruses and microbes while at the same time maintaining the stability and health of the human body. If the immune system has any problems, the human body will be attacked by the invading viruses and microbes, which can lead to incidences of diseases or even cancers. Studies have shown that the immune systems of cancer patients are generally in an inhibitory state. Therefore, in terms of cancer treatment, it is critical to restore the proper functions of their immune systems.
Immunotherapy has gained a significant development over the years. It can be mainly divided into humoral immunity and cellular immunity. Humoral immunity regulates the immune system through the production of antibodies. Presently, the most popular and representative antibody is the PD-1 antibody. However, there are several problems that are related to this antibody that still remain unsolved. It is only effective in the controlling, but not in the curing of cancers; except for those with melanoma, renal carcinoma and lung cancer—approximately 20% of the total number of cancer patients. However, it shows little treatment efficacy for patients with other types of cancer. Cellular immunity protects the body by activating and stimulating the immunocytes for a straight-pass attack against cancer cells. Both the domestic and foreign clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of cellular immunity.
In recent years, the application of the chimeric antibody receptor-modified (CAR-modified) T-cell therapy (with B-cell as the potential target) to late leukemia patients has achieved spectacular success. However, the CAR-modified T-cell therapy can lead to serious side effects in the patients. As a therapy that binds to the body’s natural laws, the DC-activated cellular immunotherapy is considered as the optimal treatment approach for cancer patients.
The team from the IHV of University of Maryland has developed a new DC-based cellular immunity technology that is able to achieve massive proliferations of T-cells in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and transforms them into cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs), which has a powerful cancer-fighting function. The team has applied for patents for this technology in different countries and regions across the world. By applying the DC technology to a series of tumor transplantation models, both the safety and effectiveness of the DC technology has been demonstrated.
While the DCs remain at a relatively high level of activity in the long-term culturethey are also suitable for gene modification, which enables the production of cancer antigens with different expressions and specific CTLs. Both in-vitro and in-vivo trials have demonstrated the capability of DCs to stimulate, and more importantly, enhance the actual DC functions. The CTLs that are produced based on the induction effect of the DCs specifically kills tumor cells without damaging the body. Hence, it is a safe and effective therapy that is suitable for mass production. The promising technology that is based on cellular immunotherapy is likely to cure cancer patients.