STAT+: Researchers show they can quickly turn CAR-T cells on and off, raising hopes for safer cancer treatments

Researchers reported Wednesday that they could quickly and reliably turn CAR-T cells on and off in cancer patients, giving scientists an unprecedented level of control over this potent — but at times dangerous — oncology therapy.

The findings, presented at the CAR-TCR Summit in Boston, come from an early-stage clinical trial by Scripps Research of patients with B cell cancers. Seven of the first nine participants treated in the ongoing study have responded to the so-called “switchable” CAR-T cells, which have been engineered to only attack cancer cells when combined with an antibody that acts as a switch that unlocks the therapy. Six of these patients have had complete responses, meaning that researchers can no longer spot signs of cancer.

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