By Nancy Gay
A breast cancer patient’s best shot at survival may lie inside their own immune system. Moffitt research associate Amber Beyer, and team are working on an adaptive cell therapy for women with HER2+ breast cancer.
Through a blood collection called apheresis, the team can extract specific cells from a patient. They re-engineer those cells in a lab and inject them back into the patient, where they head straight to the tumor. It’s sort of like attaching a GPS to immune cells that gives them specific directions of where to go within the body. The goal is to stimulate the immune response in patients, so it can attack cancer like it would attack a cold or flu.
Beyer says, “By putting this product back into patients we’re hoping that it can eradicate their tumors, especially in HER2+ metastatic breast cancer patients, where not many therapies actually work for them right now.”
Down the road, Beyer and team hope to create a vaccine form a patient’s own immune system to go out and target their own tumor cells. This project is in pre-clinical stages. The team hopes to get a clinical trial up and running within the next year.