Form of immunotherapy used for cancer might be used to treat heart disease

Researchers are reporting that CAR T-cell therapy, an emerging type of immunotherapy that uses a patient’s own cells to treat certain blood cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia, might be used to treat heart disease.

In studies with mice, researchers used genetically modified white blood cells—called T cells—to target and remove certain cell types called activated fibroblasts that contribute to the development of cardiac fibrosis. This scarring process, found in most forms of heart disease, results in heart stiffness and decreased function of the heart. The use of CAR T-cell therapy significantly reduced cardiac fibrosis and restored heart function in mice with heart disease caused by high blood pressure, the researchers said.

The study, published in Nature, is partly funded by NHLBI.

Media Coverage

The New York Times
Chemical & Engineering News
Penn Medicine News (press release)