Bruno Silva-Santos’ team identifies cells to treat leukaemia patients

The clinical trial began this month in the US and will assess the safety and adequate dose for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia, the most aggressive blood cancer. Immunotherapy is based on DOT cells of the immune system, and they were identified for the first time by the team of immunologist Bruno Silva-Santos, Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon (FMUL), and researcher at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM).

The therapy is being tested in 28 adult patients treated with chemotherapy but who still have tumour cells in their blood. A type of immune cells, the "Delta One T (DOT) cells", identified and characterized by the immunologist's team, is used.

According to the IMM, the research conducted by the institute's scientists and FMUL “demonstrated that, from a blood sample from healthy donors, it was possible to produce billions of 'DOT cells' with a great capacity to destroy tumour cells of various origins”, including those causing acute myeloid leukaemia.

“One of the reasons we are so interested in this leukaemia is because three out of four patients reach a stage of the disease in which they do not respond to chemotherapy”, reports Professor Bruno Silva-Santos.

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