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MRNA Therapy Helpful In Treatment Of Aggressive Cancer, Reveals Study

Researchers at the Mayo clinic have discovered that adding messenger RNA or mRNA therapy to cancer treatment improves the response to the cure. The study was published in Cancer Immunology Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

According to the study, immunotherapy makes use of the body's immune system to prevent and control cancer cells.

Researchers have always been interested in MRNA technology for use in cancer treatment. Commenting on the findings, Mayo Clinic researcher Hajdong Dong, M.D, said, "We found that by introducing mRNA in immune cells, it is possible to produce useful proteins to improve their anti-tumor activity without attempting to change the genome itself. This approach may have the potential to be used across the spectrum of medicine to pull information gained from single-cell RNA-sequencing into mRNA-based therapy for patients."

In the study, the research team produced an immune system protein in the lab, which could detect the protein levels in tumor tissues. The aim was to know whether certain patients will have appropriate protein levels in their tumor-reactive immune cells as a biomarker for this therapeutic intervention.

Researchers said, "Most patients with advanced cancers have not benefited from current immune checkpoint blockade therapy. Our study provides a tool to detect this problem and also provides a mRNA-based therapy to fix it."

In the next process, the researchers used new sequencing technology, which makes possible mRNA-based change of primary immune cells. They then isolated the target gene in single-cell RNA-sequencing datasets and conducted a functional test to validate the role of the target gene in enhanced immune cell-mediated killing of tumor cells.

The analysis showed a weak spot of T cells in patients who did not get any response to immunotherapy. T cells are white blood cells that play an important role in the immune system. They stop cancer cells from spreading in the human body. Researchers have also developed an mRNA-based strategy to better the T cell response to immune checkpoint inhibitors in patients for whom the treatment is not working.

According to the research team, future research goals include optimizing the screening test to detect the protein in human tumor tissues. This will help in knowing any correlation with cancer prognosis and the response to immunotherapy and explore using mRNA for T cell therapy.

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