In the last few years, there has been an immunotherapy revolution in the treatment of cancer. Therapies that take advantage of the immune system have shown remarkable success in a number of different cancers, particularly melanoma.
However, despite this success, a significant number of patients do not respond to these treatments, or eventually develop resistance. This can be devastating for patients and their families, who had hoped that these breakthrough therapies would be a cure.
Now, researchers may have found a way to bypass this resistance and improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy in melanoma.
The key appears to be a molecule known as CD39. This molecule is found on the surface of immune cells, and helps regulate the immune response. Interestingly, levels of CD39 are increased on the surface of melanoma cells that are resistant to immunotherapy.
Based on this, the researchers hypothesized that targeting CD39 may be a way to overcome resistance and improve the efficacy of immunotherapy.
To test this, they used a targeted immunotherapy approach known as CAR T-cell therapy. This therapy involves taking patients’ immune cells and engineering them to target and kill cancer cells.
In this study, the researchers engineered the CAR T cells to target CD39, as well as the protein known as CTLA-4. CTLA-4 is a known brake on the immune system, and previous studies have shown that targeting it can improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy.
The results of the study were promising. The CAR T cells targeting CD39 and CTLA-4 were able to kill melanoma cells in the laboratory, and also improved the survival of mice with melanoma.
These results suggest that targeting CD39 may be a way to overcome resistance to immunotherapy and improve its efficacy in the treatment of melanoma.
This is an exciting finding, and further studies are needed to confirm these results and to determine whether this approach is safe and effective in humans. However, this study provides hope that we may be able to overcome one of the major obstacles to successful immunotherapy in melanoma and other cancers.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are a new class of therapeutics that are showing promise in the fight against cancer. ICIs work by targeting specific proteins that act as “checkpoints”, allowing cancer cells to evade detection by the immune system. While ICIs have proven to be effective in some cancer types, resistance to treatment is a major obstacle.
Now, researchers have identified a new potential target that may help to overcome this resistance. The target, called CCL2, is a protein that is involved in the recruitment of immune cells to the tumor site. By targeting CCL2, the researchers were able to reverse resistance to ICI therapy in mouse models of melanoma.
While this is a promising new approach, further studies are needed to determine whether it will be effective in humans. If successful, this could provide a much-needed new option for patients with melanoma who have failed to respond to ICI therapy.