The first engineered autologous T cell local infusion technology was achieved by Wang Wei’s team in the immunotherapy of advanced liver cancer in the Third Xiangya Hospital
After the Lantern Festival, a 70-year-old patient surnamed Hou was discharged from the Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University. He was in good spirits and moved freely.His return came as a shock to his neighbors: six months ago, when he was hospitalized with advanced liver cancer, he could barely walk, too ill to take care of himself.The patient was brought back to life because the team of professor Wang Wei, the chief expert of the hospital, implemented the new engineering autologous T cell local infusion technology, which helped him create the miracle of overcoming advanced liver cancer.He is the seventh patient to be treated with the new technique.It is reported that more than 900,000 new cases of liver cancer are diagnosed every year in the world, including 400,000 in China, and the number of deaths is close to the new number.Immunotherapy, the latest medical achievement in the world, has no obvious effect on the treatment of advanced liver cancer, and even produces related toxic and side effects.In 2017, Wang Wei led a team of professors Rong Pengfei, Liang Qi and Ma Xiaoqian to study a new technology of gene editing T cells for the treatment of advanced liver cancer.Although T cells are “cancer cell killers”, due to the unique immunological characteristics of T cells in liver, the immune suppression of the tumor microenvironment accelerates the immune escape of liver cancer cells, making it difficult for T cells to enter liver cancer tissues to play anti-tumor effects. Even if they enter, their functions are weakened and cannot be sustained.However, the overactivity of immune cells in vivo leads to the overactivation of immune cells, which not only kills tumors, but also attacks normal tissues of human body, resulting in a series of immunotherapeutic adverse reactions.How to solve this problem?After repeated studies, the team found the technology for local tumor infusion of engineered autologous T cells:In vitro of the patient’s own first genetically engineered T cells, enhance T cell immune function, and then through the guidance of imaging equipment, fine needle puncture liver tumor tissues, inject gene editing of T cells in vitro tumor tissue interior, restore the immune microenvironment, not only ensure the number of T cells within the tumor, and enhance local T cell function, give full play to its effect on cancer cells to kill,To control and subdue tumors.Because this technology can control the immune killing effect of T cells mainly in the tumor and the nearby area, it has little interference to the systemic immune system, does not affect other immune cells, avoids the damage of other tissues and organs caused by the over-activation of the body’s immune, also protects the liver function of patients with advanced liver cancer, and prolongates the survival of patients.This breakthrough provides new ideas for the treatment of advanced liver cancer, and brings new light to the fight against cancer.In 2019, the team applied this research project to the clinic, and has performed this minimally invasive interventional treatment on 7 patients with advanced liver cancer so far, with remarkable results.Prior to receiving the new technology, the patient was unable to control the disease with other conventional treatments and was expected to survive only 3-6 months.”Happily, survival was significantly prolonged in all seven patients, the longest being nearly three years!”Professor Wang Wei told reporters, the latest follow-up results show that 3 of them liver tumor significantly reduced, tumor marker a fetoprotein decreased, life, work back to normal.The team is now preparing to treat an eighth patient with advanced liver cancer.Immunotherapy is a new sword to fight cancer after targeted therapy.Immunotherapy has been widely used as soon as it comes out, and it has been applied in clinic in China in recent years.In 1992, professor Tasuku Honjo, a renowned medical expert, discovered that one of the most important factors in the development of malignant tumors is the impaired function of the body’s T lymphocytes (T cells).Normally, after cancer cells invade the body, T cells play an immune role and kill them.If the human T cell function decreases or is damaged, the immune effect will weaken and fade, cancer cells will take advantage of the opportunity to enter, forming malignant tumors.The key to the impaired function of T cells lies in their immune checkpoint molecules.If T cells are compared to a “combat troops” to destroy invading cancer cells, the immune checkpoint molecules are the “sentinels” of T cells, mainly relying on it to find the “enemy” — cancer cells, and then by the “combat troops” to destroy the “enemy”.Once the “sentry” fails to warn, the “enemy” can not be found, and the “combat troops” can not kill the “enemy” naturally. The invading tumor cells can not only successfully escape and kill, but also develop rapidly, resulting in the rapid deterioration of the patient’s condition.In this regard, Professor Gordon Freeman, an American immunologist, proposed that the treatment of cancer should not only kill cancer cells through radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but also pay more attention to enhancing the immune function of patients, starting from restoring the function of immune checkpoint molecule “sentinel”, restoring the combat effectiveness of T cells, enhancing the body’s own immune capacity, so as to defeat cancer.At present, bristol-myers squibb and MSD world famous pharmaceutical companies to develop a series of restoration of T cell immune checkpoint molecular drug, to revive the body immune lymphocyte killing effect, make the body immune lymphocytes can recognize and kill tumor cells in the body, so as to achieve the purpose of the treatment of tumor.The discovery of inhibition of negative immune regulation, a new therapy, has made cancer therapy enter a new era of immunity, with epoch-making significance.American professor of Medicine James P. Allison and Japanese scientist Tasuku Honjo shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work.It is understood that at present immunotherapy this new technology, for some cancers (such as advanced liver cancer) treatment is still in the effect is not obvious or even ineffective stage, the world’s medical scientists are trying to explore.Professor Wang Wei and his team from The Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University pioneered the local infusion technology of engineered autologous T cells, explored a new method for the treatment of liver cancer, and made an important contribution to the improvement of immunotherapy.