Developing tailored therapies against cancer.
This is how personalized cancer medicine is created: Researchers at the Max Delbrück Center teach immune cells from cancer patients to recognize the characteristics of the respective tumor and to destroy the cancer.
In healthy people, the immune system prevents some cancers from developing at all. However, if the tumor manages to proliferate uncontrollably, degenerate cells can escape the body's defenses. The problem is that the body does not perceive them as pathogenic and does not fight them.
To defeat cancer, we have been researching T cells - the guardians of the immune system - for more than 20 years. With the help of their receptors, they can recognize invaders and disease-causing cells in the body. We are investigating how tumor cells nevertheless manage to evade the defense system and use genetic engineering methods to ensure that the patient's T cells can destroy the cancer. In this way, we are creating a scientific basis for personalized cancer medicine and, together with our cooperation partners, are developing cell therapies, not only against blood cancers and lymphomas, but also against tumors that are difficult to treat.
Image: Rita Elena Serda, National Institutes of Health (CC BY-NC-2.0)