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UCARTMESO CAR-T Cell Therapy Can Help Kill Mesothelioma Cells

Published: December 17, 2021

A new treatment utilizing CAR-T cell therapy could help prevent mesothelioma cells from protecting themselves. The treatment, called UCARTMESO, is being developed by the French biopharmaceutical company Cellectis. The treatment works by targeting cells that overexpress mesothelin, which is an antigen that prevents cells from sending immune suppressive signals. A majority of the time immune suppressive treatments for mesothelioma prevent CAR-T cell therapy from working well, but with UCARTMESO, CAR-T cell therapy is looking promising as a mesothelioma treatment. The developers of UCARTMESO presented their discoveries at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer conference last month.

The typical way to treat mesothelioma is to utilize chemotherapy, and if the patient is healthy enough, surgery. Radiotherapy can also be used to shrink tumors before surgery or to prevent tumors from coming back after surgery. Immunotherapy is a completely different way to treat mesothelioma since it uses the patient’s own immune system.

CAR-T cell therapy is immunotherapy, which is a type of cancer treatment that uses the immune system. When doctors utilize CAR-T cell therapy, they take a person’s immune T-cells and change them in a lab. They are placed back in the body and are able to seek out and recognize cells that express large quantities of mesothelin. Since regular cells do not express as much mesothelin as mesothelioma cells, there is a much smaller chance that they will be affected by the treatment. Mesothelioma cells typically emit signals that change their environment, which allows the cells to escape the immune system. UCARTMESO CAR-T cell therapy stops the process that allows mesothelioma cells to escape the immune system, helping the immune system prevent cancer cells from growing unchecked.

CAR-T cell therapy has not been approved to treat mesothelioma, but with the research’s promising results, it is possible that it could one day be approved. The results showed that the treatment involving UCARTMESO had good anticancer effects even when the mesothelioma cells suppressed the immune system. Treatments like this cannot just be approved without the proper testing. Researchers have to know it is safe and effective in a large number of patients. Multiple studies are performed to ensure the safety and efficacy of the treatment, and after clinical trials are completed, the Food and Drug Administration can approve the drug for a specific disease, in this case, mesothelioma.

“Cellectis Presents First Preclinical Data on UCARTMESO, an Allogeneic CAR-T Cell Product Candidate Targeting Mesothelin to Treat Solid Tumors at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer” Cellectis (November 11, 2021). [Link]
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