Researchers from the RIKEN Research Centre for Allergy and Immunology in Japan report today that they have succeeded for the first time in creating cancer-specific, immune system cells called killer T lymphocytes, from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). To create these killer cells, the team first had to reprogram T lymphocytes specialized in killing a certain type of cancer, into iPS cells. The iPS cells then generated fully active, cancer-specific T lymphocytes. These lymphocytes regenerated from iPS cells could potentially serve as cancer therapy in the future.
Previous research has shown that killer T lymphocytes produced in the lab using conventional methods are inefficient in killing cancer cells mainly because they have a very short life-span, which limits their use as treatment for cancer. To overcome these problems, the Japanese researchers led by Hiroshi Kawamoto and presenting their results in the journal Cell Stem Cell online today, reprogramed mature human killer T lymphocytes into iPS cells and investigated how these cells differentiate.
The team induced killer T lymphocytes specific for a certain type of skin cancer to reprogram into iPS cells by exposing the lymphocytes to the 'Yamanaka factors'. The 'Yamanaka factors' is a group of compounds that induce cells to revert back to a non-specialized, pluripotent stage. The iPS cells obtained were then grown in the lab and induced to differentiate into killer T lymphocytes again. This new batch of T lymphocytes was shown to be specific for the same type of skin cancer as the original lymphocytes: they maintained the genetic reorganization enabling them to express the cancer-specific receptor on their surface. The new T lymphocytes were also shown to be active and to produce the anti-tumor compound interferon γ.
"We have succeeded in the expansion of antigen-specific T cells by making iPS cells and differentiating them back into functional T cells. The next step will be to test whether these T cells can selectively kill tumor cells but not other cells in the body. If they do, these cells might be directly injected into patients for therapy. This could be realized in the not-so-distant future." explains Dr Kawamoto.
Raul Vizcardo, Kyoko Masuda, Daisuke Yamada, Tomokatsu Ikawa, Kanako Shimizu, Shin-ichiro Fujii, Haruhiko Koseki, Hiroshi Kawamoto "Regeneration of human tumor antigen-specific T cells from iPS cells derived from mature CD8+ T cells." Cell Stem Cell, 2013
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Free-living songbirds show increased stress hormone levels when nesting under white street lights. But different light spectra may have different physiological effects as this study finds, suggesting that using street lights with specific colour spectra may mitigate effects of light pollution on wildlife
Scientists identify the condition aphantasia, in which people cannot create images in their head
The dust in our homes contains an average of 9,000 different types of fungi and bacteria, a study suggests.
A mosquito can bear up to 23 times its total body weight on each leg, which is crucial for landing on water – the insect's secret is way it stands
Tropical species with smaller geographical ranges are more likely to die out in a warming climate than those that can adapt by ‘invading’ new regions
Most people think of bacteria as germs, signs of filth, or unwanted bringers of disease. Slowly, that view …
The gloomy octopuses crowded at Jervis Bay, Australia, appear to spit and throw debris such as shell at each other in what could be an intentional use of weapons
Therapies based on hormones that make us more trusting enhance our natural placebo effect – a finding that could alter the way clinical trials are conducted
The blind, hairless babies born recently at Washington D.C.'s National Zoo are completely dependent on their mothers—who can sometimes accidentally crush them.
The poop-hoarding insects have an amazingly advanced internal GPS that allows them to navigate by day or night.