By Pankaj, US correspondent, [RxPG] Prostate cancer (PC) is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy and the second leading cause of death in American men. PC usually moves into the bone and the symptoms are treated by suppression of the production of male hormones known as androgens. However within 12-18 months of beginning this therapy, the disease usually becomes androgen-independent and no further effective therapies currently exist.
In the December 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Zelig Eshhar and colleagues from The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, report an alternative treatment approach. The authors used the "T body" approach, in which T cells genetically reprogrammed to be tumor antigenspecific were directly applied to confined but well-established PC tumors in mice. These mice were "preconditioned" prior to treatment, meaning that they were subjected to low-dose radiation or chemotherapy prior to T cell transfer in order to prevent the body from attacking the newly transferred T cells. The "T body" approach decreased tumor growth, prolonged survival, and even cured the treated mice. The authors suggest that patient preconditioning prior to the transfer of tumor-specific T cells offers great promise for immunotherapy of metastatic PC and other malignant tumors.