Billions have been spent on cancer research since the declaration of war on cancer four decades ago. While significant progress has been made and survival rates have doubled, millions of people still die of the disease each year. Half of us will hear the words “you have cancer” at some point in our lifetimes. Nearly every person on earth is affected by cancer in some way.
While cancer still remains largely undefeated, a new immune cell therapy could put an end to many forms of the disease. This relatively simple treatment involves injecting gamma delta T immune cells of healthy individuals into cancer patients to increase their natural ability to fight against it. The cells work by identifying and attacking the cancer cells.
The beauty of immune cell therapy is the fact that these cells survive in the patient’s body with no immunosuppressant (anti-rejection) drugs, which often carry side effects that outweigh the benefits of the treatment.
Immune cell therapy is expected to move on to clinical trials next year. If it passes, we might see donor cell banks that store immune cells, ready to be transplanted into patients.