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Combination cell and drug therapy for solid cancers

Combination cell and drug therapy for solid cancers

Unmet Need

In 2022, there were 1.7 million estimated new solid cancer diagnoses and 500,000 estimated deaths. Existing chemo- and radiotherapies are not specific enough to the cancerous cells, causing debilitating off-target effects. New therapies have tried to expand and activate tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), the naturally occurring immune cells that destroy tumor cells, but these therapies only work in a small percentage of patients. There is a need for an improved specific and targeted solid cancer treatment that can be used by more patients.


Duke inventors have developed a combination cell and drug therapy for solid cancers. This is intended to be used as an adoptive cell therapy. Specifically, CD8+ TILs are isolated from the patient’s tumor biopsy and expanded ex vivo in the presence of IL-2 and IL-10 to enhance their tumor-killing capacity. Additionally, CD8+ TILs are expanded in the presence of complement signaling inhibitors, enhancing their endogenous IL-10 production. The TILs are then transferred back into the patient. Duke inventors have demonstrated that the inhibition of complement signaling and IL-10 addition significantly improved their anti-tumor responses in an in vivo mouse model of melanoma cancer and isolated TILs from lung cancer patients.


  • More specific than systemic chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
  • Utilizes endogenous tumor-killing cells derived from the patient, reducing the immunologic barrier.
  • Adds another treatment modality and can be combined with other immune checkpoint inhibitors.
  • Produces IL-10 at the tumor site, avoiding toxic effects of systemic IL-10 administration.
  • Easy to incorporate into existing cell expansion protocols.
  • Demonstrated in an in vivo cancer model.

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