Despite the success of immunotherapy in helping many people with cancer, the majority of patients still do not respond to these treatments. There is need for continued research. On April 20, 2022, researchers at the Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI) reported in Nature that a recently discovered new immune cell (“soldier”) could be a good target for immunotherapy, raising hopes that it might help narrow the gap between people who respond and those who do not. The article is titled “Programme of Self-Reactive Innate-Like T Cell-Mediated Cancer Immunity.” The newly discovered cells, which the scientists have dubbed killer innate-like T cells, differ in notable ways from the conventional target of many immunotherapies--the cytotoxic (aka “killer”) T cells. For one, they don’t get exhausted from extended activity as cytotoxic T cells do. And two, they can penetrate more deeply into tissues where cancer is hiding. These unique attributes make them attractive as a target for immunotherapy.
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