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Reprogrammed Immune Cells Hunt Down and Destroy Cancer Cells

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 15 Aug 2023
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Image: The body’s own immune cells can be programmed to carry therapeutics to places where treatment normally cannot reach (Photo courtesy of Freepik)
Image: The body’s own immune cells can be programmed to carry therapeutics to places where treatment normally cannot reach (Photo courtesy of Freepik)

The human body wards off illnesses by employing immune cells to enter and destroy disease cells. However, certain dangerous cells, including some solid tumors, operate covertly, evading the body's regular immune system. Now, a breakthrough in targeted cell therapy makes it possible to reprogram a patient's own immune cells, giving them the ability to hunt down and destroy these cancer cells.

Edity Therapeutics (Rehovot, Israel) is reprogramming immune cells to serve as a delivery vehicle. These cells will contain therapeutic payloads, primed to locate and destroy not just cancer cells but also a range of diseases that currently lack a cure. The reprogramming immune cells, known as ED 007, will be trained by Edity to recognize solid tumors that generally elude recognition by the body's own immune system, enabling their unrestrained growth and metastasis. ED 007 will promote inflammation within these tumors, triggering the body's inherent immune response to destroy the cancerous cells. Given that the retrained cells are derived from the patient's own body, the risk of rejection and autotoxicity is likely to be minimal.

The concept of reprogramming a patient's own cells to fight cancer has demonstrated success in individuals with blood cancer. Edity is poised to take the next leap, aiming to utilize these retrained immune cells, including ED 007, to target solid tumors that create treatment challenges. Edity employs a straightforward yet potent process: Patients provide a blood sample from which specialized white blood cells known as T cells are extracted. These cells are then engineered in a laboratory setting to carry the necessary medication for treatment. After a brief incubation period, the engineered cells are reintroduced into the patient's body. Loaded with medication, the immune cells navigate directly to the patient’s damaged cells and start repairing the diseased tissues.

“Science allows us to treat any disease in a test tube but there are still many diseases with no cure,” Dr. Michal Golan-Mashiach, Edity’s CEO and Founder told The Times of Israel. “Edity’s technology will bring new treatment options to previously incurable diseases, offering new medicines to patients and their families.”

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