Immune therapy to fight cancer specifically programs a patient’s own immune system to target & destroy invading disease cells. The ability of immunotherapy to more strategically combat cancer than general cancer treatments do is only now being fully understood. And as scientists excitedly recognize immunotherapies’ potential is far greater than first imagined, donor blood cells that fuel research progress are more important than ever.
Three particular types of immunotherapy are being comprehensively researched by medical scientists around the world:
- CAR T cell therapy to treat malignancies, using a patient’s or a matched living donor’s engineered ‘T’ lymphocyte white blood cells
- Immune checkpoint blockade therapy that supplements treatment by enabling the patient’s immune system to head-off cancer’s sly efforts to hide & spread by disabling the immune system
- Cancer vaccinations to potentially prevent malignancies from taking hold by programming the body’s immune system to be vigilant for and ready to strike if disease attempts to take hold
All three of these potentially life-saving approaches are in multiple stages of investigation. And the critical biomaterial making much of the progress possible is blood cells.
Blood cells – like immune white blood cells and peripheral blood stem cells (stem cells that produce more blood cells & move throughout the circulatory system) – provide both the testing material for new treatment advancement and the living cells for donor treatment to patients in clinical trials and new therapies care.
Living donors are the source of the essential live human cells, like white blood cell lymphocytes, used to make immune treatment discoveries or refine newly identified methods:
- Healthy individuals give blood for research or treatment development for patients too sick to provide their own white blood cells
- Diagnosed patients give blood for investigations that ‘prove’ a new treatment concept for their type of cancer in the lab, before it can be administered to actual patients in clinical trials.
Diverse donors are an important influence on how effectively medical researchers can create new treatments that offer broad hope. The more diverse a cross-section of blood cell donations, the more efficiently scientists can ensure innovative treatment options do the greatest good for the greatest number of patients – across all genders, races, and ethnicities.
Blood cell donors giving samples of needed blood cell types advance critical research. They help strengthen the promise of immunotherapy treatment for adults and kids, and they can help identify preventative vaccines not only for cancer, but for autoimmune and other diseases.
Learn more about how blood donors make progress possible at ResearchChampions.com.