The research conducted by the team from Monash University's Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) and Deakin University's School of Medicine represents a groundbreaking advancement in the field of cancer immunotherapy, particularly in CAR-T cell therapy.
Scientists have pioneered a world-first method for introducing beneficial genetic material into white blood cells, potentially revolutionising treatment options for specific types of blood cancer.
The innovative approach addresses the challenges of CAR-T cell therapy, a cutting-edge treatment involving the genetic modification of a patient's own white blood cells (T cells) for targeted cancer cell attack. The current CAR-T cell therapy process is hindered by its complexity, slow pace, and high costs.
The research team has introduced a remarkable solution by utilising nano-needles, which are a staggering 100,000 times finer than a human hair, to deliver genetic material into T cells.
This breakthrough eliminates the need for inactive viral vectors, which are conventionally used to transport genetic material into cells but have been associated with costly treatment delays in CAR-T cell production.
The non-viral approach not only simplifies the process but also enhances safety by sidestepping viral vector-related concerns. Furthermore, the application of nanotechnology offers the possibility of conducting the entire procedure within a hospital setting.
This development addresses an urgent demand for a scalable, cost-effective, and streamlined CAR-T cell manufacturing process that does not rely on viral vectors. By harnessing nanotechnologies, the researchers are enabling the precise delivery of advanced non-viral therapeutics into primary human immune cells, which are difficult to transfect.