Systems Biology

Ex Vivo Treatment

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Science  01 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5927, pp. 569
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_569c

Although laboratory experiments are usually designed on the basis of pure populations of cells, responses within an organism often rely on heterogeneous populations. This is certainly true of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), which are used in adoptive cell transfer for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Oved et al. used computational approaches to characterize—according to a panel of cell surface markers—TIL populations isolated from 91 human patients and to predict their reactivity to melanoma cells. No single marker could accurately predict the antitumor reactivity of the entire population; however, a set of population-based markers predicted the anti-tumor reactivity of the population (as defined by levels of interferon-γ produced) with 89% accuracy. The authors then took 12 non-reactive TIL populations from four other patients and succeeded in manipulating the frequencies of subpopulations in order to convert the populations into a reactive state—hopefully a step toward less toxic tumor therapy in vivo.

Mol. Syst. Biol. 5, 10.1038/msb.2009.15 (2009).

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