Engineered T Cells to Fight Cancer: T cell immunotherapy involves engineering a patient’s own cells to recognize a protein present in cancer cells, enabling them to seek out and destroy the cancer.
The technique involves filtering white blood cells called T cells from a patient’s blood and introducing a new gene into those cells. A disabled virus called a vector is used to carry the gene inside the T cells and insert it into the cells’ genomes. The gene programs the T cells to make a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), which enables them to recognize a specific protein that’s present in cancer cells. The CAR T cells are then grown in the laboratory and infused back into the patient, where they seek out and destroy the cancer.