Penn Nanoparticles are Less Toxic to T Cells Engineered for Cancer Immunotherapy

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
(Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

New cancer immunotherapies involve extracting a patient's T cells and genetically engineering them so they will recognize and attack tumors. But the alterations to the immune system immediately make patients very sick for a short period of time. Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have demonstrated a new engineering technique that, because it is less toxic to the T cells, could enable a different mechanism for altering the way they recognize cancer. The new technique involves ferrying messenger RNA across the T cell's membrane via a lipid-based nanoparticle, rather than using a modified HIV virus to rewrite the cell's DNA.