Preprint / Version 1

Memory T Lymphocytes in Leukemia Immunotherapy


  • Samuel Huang BASIS Independent Fremont Upper School



Immunology, Chimeric Antigen Receptor, Leukemia, Immunotherapy


T cells, or Thymus cells, are amongst the most important cell types in our adaptive immune system. Of these T cells, one subtype essential for long-lasting immunity is memory T cells. Memory T cells are created, along with other memory cells, in the late stages of an infection of a particular pathogen. These cells are particularly special because they play a key role in protecting individuals from reinfection. After being infected by, or vaccinated against a particular pathogen, memory T cells' job is to maintain immune memory and store pathogen information for long-lasting protection. If a re-infection occurs, memory T cells along with other memory cells would quickly clear the infection, effectively immunizing the individual. Recently, there has been much interest in using these memory cells in immunotherapy.  Immunotherapy involves using the patient’s own immune system to combat cancer, serving as a very promising treatment for many types of cancer, including leukemia. Examples of immunotherapies include monoclonal antibodies, CAR T therapy, and cancer vaccines. Leukemia is a very deadly cancer of the leukocytes (white blood cells) and is known to recur in patients even after otherwise successful treatment. Normally, after cancer treatment, there is still a substantial risk of leukemia returning later in life through the same pathways through which it initially emerged and others. In such cases, more treatment would be needed. However, because of the memory T cells’ ability to remember antigens, perhaps memory T cells contain untapped potential to be used in a more efficient leukemia immunotherapy and prevent relapse. How could existing mechanisms of immune memory be optimized for this purpose? This review explores the current state of CAR-T immunotherapy, the role of memory lymphocytes, and how leveraging immune memory be optimized to create a more efficient leukemia immunotherapy.


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