How T-rapa Cells Work

July 29, 2013
Daniel H. Fowler, MD

Daniel H. Fowler, MD, senior investigator, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, describes how T-rapa cells work.

Daniel H. Fowler, MD, senior investigator, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, describes how T-rapa cells work.

T-rapa cells have been studied for 10-15 years in the lab, initially with experimental mouse models. In clinical trials, researchers have found that when T cells are incubated ex vivo in rapamycin (an inhibitor of mTOR), instead of dying, T cells can overcome the rapamycin effect and survive the culture system.

Clinical Pearls

In this situation, the cells are being starved ex vivo, but signaling remains to keep them growing and have them emerge as healthy cells. Fowler notes that this process is somewhat paradoxical. Fowler has studied T-rapa cells in a phase II clinical trial after low-intensity allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

  • When T cells are incubated ex vivo in rapamycin, they can overcome the rapamycin effect and survive the culture system
  • In this situation, the cells are being starved ex vivo, but signaling remains to keep them growing and have them emerge as healthy cells