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Computing Empowers Immune Cells to Kill Cancer

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Illustration of a t-cell (left) attacking a cancer cell.

A collaboration of computer scientists and bioengineers has produced a way to select cancer-cell targets for the human immune system with the same kind of logic that drives computers.

Credit: Lim Lab

A team of computer scientists and bioengineers at Princeton University, the Simons Foundation, and the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) developed a method in which engineered T cells can logically recognize a specific combination of cancer markers.

The researchers programmed human immune cells with computer-like logic, which enables them to target combinations of markers that appear on healthy tissues.

The algorithm identified many promising combinations of antigens that target a broad range of tumors, with the most promising being combinations of antigens already being tested in clinical trials with novel ones identified by machine learning techniques.

Said UCSF's Wendell Lim, "The space of possibilities is too big to actually build and test T cells for every possible combination. This algorithm makes the problem of designing precision therapeutic cells much more manageable, cost effective, and realistic."

From Princeton University
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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