The body has different ways of fighting infection and disease. No single way seems perfect
for fighting cancer. This research study combines two different ways of fighting disease:
antibodies and T cells. Antibodies are proteins that protect the body from diseases caused by
germs or toxic substances. They work by binding those germs or substances, which stops them
from growing and causing bad effects. T cells, also called T lymphocytes, are special
infection-fighting blood cells that can kill other cells, including tumor cells or cells that
are infected with germs. Both antibodies and T cells have been used to treat patients with
cancers: they both have shown promise, but have not been strong enough to cure most patients.
Investigators hope that both will work better together.
Investigators have found from previous research that they can put a new gene into T cells
that will make them recognize cancer cells and kill them. Investigators now want to see if
they can attach a gene to T cells that will help them do a better job at recognizing and
killing lymphoma cells.
The new gene that investigators will put in T cells makes an antibody called anti-CD30. This
antibody sticks to lymphoma cells because of a substance on the outside of the cells called
CD30. Anti-CD30 antibodies have been used to treat people with lymphoma, but have not been
strong enough to cure most patients.
For this study, the anti-CD30 antibody has been changed so that instead of floating free in
the blood it is now joined to the T cells. When an antibody is joined to a T cell in this
way, it is called a chimeric receptor. These CD30 chimeric receptor-activated T cells seem to
kill some of the tumor, but they don't last very long and so their chances of fighting the
cancer are unknown.