4 Cancer Breakthroughs that Give Us Hope
One reason it's so hard to treat cancer: Malignancies can go undetected by the T cells that help our bodies fight disease. But a new type of treatment, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, genetically modifies patients' T cells so they can recognize cancer—and get to work. "We've figured out how to identify proteins on a tumor cell that are more pronounced than you would see in normal tissue, then program the T cells to target those proteins," explains Behnam Badie, MD, chief of neurosurgery at City of Hope, a research and treatment center for cancer and other life-threatening diseases—and the first center in the U.S. to inject CAR T cells directly into brain tumors. "We already know this therapy works in the lab," Badie says. "We're now testing it on patients with brain tumors that haven't responded to radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy."