The gut microbiome’s components may be able to predict CAR-T cell therapy effectiveness more accurately


Although the likelihood of developing cancer has decreased in the European Union in recent years, according to recent preliminary studies, cancers continue to be one of the leading causes of death. However, there have been some areas where progress has been very encouraging, like the battle against lymphoma using CAR-T cell immunotherapies. The body’s own T cells can be genetically modified in the lab to become chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T cells), which can then be reintroduced into patients. The modified T cells can then locate and eliminate the tumor cells in the body because they are endowed with these antigen receptors.

However, there are still significant variations in how each patient responded to their treatment. Prof. Elinav explains, “By concentrating on patients who had not previously taken antibiotics, we were able to identify specific components of the microbiome that allowed us to predict the clinical outcomes of CAR-T cell immunotherapy.

Prof. Stein-Thoeringer continues, “In the future, elements of our gut microbiome, i.e., specific bacteria, could be used as so-called biomarkers to better predict the efficacy of CAR-T cell therapy. This will, however, need to be examined in more multicenter studies.Prof. Stein-Thoeringer is continuing his research on the gut microbiome’s role in cancer immunotherapies like CAR-T cell therapy in Tübingen. He is particularly interested in how specific bacteria can affect immune cells and what therapeutic implications result from this. His position as a professor is part of the Tübingen Cluster of Excellence “Controlling Microbes to Fight Infections” in this situation (CMFI).

Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), University Hospital Heidelberg, the LMU University Hospital Munich, the University Hospital Regensburg, the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston (USA), and the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa were also a part of the international team of experts, in addition to the University Hospital Tübingen and the DKFZ in Heidelberg (USA).

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