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First Home-Grown Gene Therapy for Cancer

Why is it in the news?

  • India’s first home-grown gene therapy, CAR-T cell therapy (NexCAR19), for cancer was launched by the President of India at IIT Bombay.

More about the news

  • NexCAR19 is a therapy developed indigenously to target B-cell cancers, including leukaemia and lymphoma.
  • The therapy is a result of collaborative efforts between ImmunoACT, a company incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), and Tata Memorial Hospital.

About CAR-T Cell Therapy

  • T cells, which are part of the immune system responsible for fighting infections and cancers, can sometimes be evaded by cancer cells.
  • CAR-T cell therapy, or Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy, is a novel approach where a patient’s own T cells are extracted and modified in the lab to recognize and target cancer cells.
  • Modified T cells, known as CAR-T cells, are then reintroduced into the patient’s body, where they are capable of better identifying and attacking cancer cells.
  • This therapy represents a significant advancement in cancer treatment, offering personalized and targeted therapy options for patients with certain types of cancers, particularly B-cell malignancies.
B and T-Cells

路聽 聽B-cells and T-cells are specific types of white blood cells known as lymphocytes, which play a crucial role in the body’s immune response.

Types of T cells:

T-cells originate in the bone marrow, mature in the thymus gland, and then migrate to lymphatic tissues or the bloodstream to carry out their functions.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Cytotoxic T-cells: These T-cells are responsible for directly killing cells infected with viruses and bacteria, as well as destroying tumour cells.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Helper T-cells: Helper T-cells send signals to other immune cells, directing them to fight infections and coordinate immune responses.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Regulatory T-cells (Tregs): Tregs are involved in suppressing excessive immune responses to prevent autoimmune reactions. They help maintain immune tolerance and prevent the immune system from attacking the body’s own cells and tissues.


B-cells are lymphocytes that produce antibodies in response to antigens, which are substances that trigger an immune response. There are two main types of B-cells:

路聽 Plasma cells: Plasma cells are responsible for producing antibodies that target specific antigens, aiding in the neutralization and elimination of pathogens.

路聽 聽Memory cells: Memory B-cells are long-lived cells that “remember” past encounters with antigens, allowing for a quicker and more effective immune response upon subsequent exposure to the same antigen.

Both B-cells and T-cells are integral components of the immune system, working together to defend the body against infections, diseases, and foreign invaders.


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