Cancer therapy using body’s natural ‘killer’ immune cells gives hope

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Called AFM24, it targets a “warhead” commonly produced by many types of cancers including lung, bowel, kidney, stomach and pancreatic.

An international study evaluated the therapy in a small trial of 24 patients. A third responded well, including two whose tumours shrunk or stopped growing for more than three months.

Professor Kristian Helin, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research said: “So far, we’ve only seen initial findings in a small group of patients but the results look promising and we’re optimistic this could be a new type of immunotherapy for cancers that are otherwise hard to treat.”

AFM24 is similar to the cutting edge CAR-T therapy in which the patient’s own immune cells are reprogrammed to target cancer. But while CAR-T is personalised, the new method could be cheaper and faster and work against a wider range of cancers.

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