0938: "T-Cells"

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby Sprocket » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:57 pm UTC

we're gonna send in some chewing gum, peanut butter and bread after that.
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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby RocketRick » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:22 pm UTC

TaylorP wrote:I remember with Affect is an Action (verb), therefore effect must be a noun. :wink:


With an attitude like that, you'll never be able to effect change.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby MWS » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:52 pm UTC

If you replace "leukemia" with "giant prehistoric crocodile," "modified HIV" with "genetically engineered shark," and "bloodstream" with "resort harbor" you've got yourself a Syfy original!

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby Daggoth » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:51 pm UTC

I'm sorry but I was pretty disappointed with this comic. I get that Mr. Munroe is probably not a specialist in genetics methodology but lentiviral transduction is a standby technique in biological/life science labs. A perfunctory review of modern gene therapy approaches couldn't possibly overlook this technique. It's a shame that it's been so grossly mischaracterized here. Usually the science jokes turn on the readers' understanding of the concept being discussed - here it's only funny if the reader is ignorant of the technique.

Just to clarify, there is nothing new or novel about using modified retrovirus to deliver genetic material to human cells. This is an incredibly common lab protocol. I was transducing glioma cell lines as an undergrad. That this is what's been highlighted as the innovative aspect of this research is rather shocking to me.



Perhaps the novelty could come from realizing you have no sense of humor

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:01 am UTC

RocketRick wrote:
TaylorP wrote:I remember with Affect is an Action (verb), therefore effect must be a noun. :wink:


With an attitude like that, you'll never be able to effect change.

And I'm sure this news will effect a change in Taylor's affect.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby miss_sakamoto » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:12 am UTC

There is a lot of interesting research going on addressing how to get rid of the modified cells used in cell/genetic therapies. One example:
http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/content/105/11/4247.full.pdf

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby ArgusPanoptes » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:23 am UTC

When I saw the punch line, the thought that went through my head was "This boy was bitten by a mad dog, and you intend to treat him with extract of mad rabbit?"

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby makowolfe » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:30 am UTC

Really? nobody said it? or hinted at it even? come on. t-cells. using the hiv VIRUS! t... virus... zombies... COME ON RESIDENT EVIL! NO REFERENCE AT ALL? i'd say you guys are off your game...

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby BrianB » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:02 pm UTC

BlueLabel wrote:
ViperFUD wrote:
BlueLabel wrote:<cut>... It's a shame that it's been so grossly mischaracterized here. Usually the science jokes turn on the readers' understanding of the concept being discussed - here it's only funny if the reader is ignorant of the technique. <uncut>


Dudes ... I'm pretty sure that NOWHERE in the comic does it imply that the person will become HIV+. You made that up in your head and then argued against it.

Strawman => -10/10.


Respectfully, if you reread my remarks I never even used the term HIV, nor did I imply that was Mr. Munroe's meaning. My issue is with how a very common lab technique is in this comic and thread being hailed as groundbreaking and novel, which definitely misses the point of the science.


Blue - I'm pretty sure that the number of people who understand this to be a standard lab technique are VERY SMALL minority. The general population (IMHO) probably doesn't know much, if anything, about gene therapy (myself included). So, to find out the types of things that are going on in the research these days is kind of like "Whoa, really?", and this comic IS funny.

Now, what would be really awesome is if they could find the gene responsible for a lack of humor and figure out how to inject that back into some people....

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby JudeMorrigan » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:23 pm UTC

makowolfe wrote:Really? nobody said it? or hinted at it even? come on. t-cells. using the hiv VIRUS! t... virus... zombies... COME ON RESIDENT EVIL! NO REFERENCE AT ALL? i'd say you guys are off your game...

You may want to go back and reread page 2 of this thread. Particularly the references to Milla Jovovich and Umbrella Corp.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby ViperFUD » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:41 pm UTC

BlueLabel wrote:
ViperFUD wrote:
ad169 wrote:Wow. Randall, implying that a lentiviral vector is equivalent to an HIV infection is ignorant and irresponsible. I can't help but feel that you know better.


BlueLabel wrote:I'm sorry but I was pretty disappointed with this comic. I get that Mr. Munroe is probably not a specialist in genetics methodology but lentiviral transduction is a standby technique in biological/life science labs. A perfunctory review of modern gene therapy approaches couldn't possibly overlook this technique. It's a shame that it's been so grossly mischaracterized here. Usually the science jokes turn on the readers' understanding of the concept being discussed - here it's only funny if the reader is ignorant of the technique.

Just to clarify, there is nothing new or novel about using modified retrovirus to deliver genetic material to human cells. This is an incredibly common lab protocol. I was transducing glioma cell lines as an undergrad. That this is what's been highlighted as the innovative aspect of this research is rather shocking to me.



Dudes ... I'm pretty sure that NOWHERE in the comic does it imply that the person will become HIV+. You made that up in your head and then argued against it.

Strawman => -10/10.


Respectfully, if you reread my remarks I never even used the term HIV, nor did I imply that was Mr. Munroe's meaning. My issue is with how a very common lab technique is in this comic and thread being hailed as groundbreaking and novel, which definitely misses the point of the science.


You are correct. In my zeal I committed the very sin I accused you of.

I apologize and have updated my post to only be quoting ad169.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby HoshiRyo » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:24 pm UTC

BrianB wrote:Blue - I'm pretty sure that the number of people who understand this to be a standard lab technique are VERY SMALL minority. The general population (IMHO) probably doesn't know much, if anything, about gene therapy (myself included). So, to find out the types of things that are going on in the research these days is kind of like "Whoa, really?", and this comic IS funny.

Now, what would be really awesome is if they could find the gene responsible for a lack of humor and figure out how to inject that back into some people....


I know I'm weird--I do lit searches for the pleasure of it, after all--but it's a very standard lab technique if you're working in a field that requires...pretty much anything you can get out of a modified cell. The gene therapy applications are actually a side one; I know of one potential cancer treatment which would use a protein from the HLA and another derived from HIV. (This actually would be slightly more precise than the T-cells, since the HLA contains the genes for, well, tagging things for the immune system to go after; people with certain alleles actually don't get certain cancers.)

Anyway. The procedure is used for gene therapy (but it's relatively useless because you cannot control the % or type of cell gotten, so you cannot ensure the unwanted gene won't be passed down), but more commonly it's used to produce sufficient amounts of DNA in an easily-purified form to sequence (which is what I was doing, to coffee) and to produce more easily purified proteins, such as the insulin Type I diabetics take now. We used to purify it from corpses, but that had its issues; genetic modification let us both ramp up production and, well, no need to dump a human pancreas into a blender.

Needless to say, it's much easier ethically too, especially if you're working with, say, something only manufactured in human fetal brains. (For example, the fetal form of the glycine receptor GlyR.)

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby ericgrau » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:30 pm UTC

He has a disease where his cells are multiplying out of control. The T-cells we injected him with help, but they aren't enough. Let's alter them so that they multiply out of control, then we'll have enough! Ah... ya

What bothers me more is that this was some breakthrough and then the problems come out perhaps 3 days later. Really, you're that eager to make a headline that you can't wait and see if it really works?

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby big boss » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:33 pm UTC

BrianB wrote:I'm pretty sure that the number of people who understand this to be a standard lab technique are VERY SMALL minority. The general population (IMHO) probably doesn't know much, if anything, about gene therapy (myself included). So, to find out the types of things that are going on in the research these days is kind of like "Whoa, really?", and this comic IS funny.

Now, what would be really awesome is if they could find the gene responsible for a lack of humor and figure out how to inject that back into some people....


Really? Because I was transducing E. coli cells not only as an undergrad but even in high school, and I didn't even go to one of those prep schools.
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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby BrianB » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:20 pm UTC

big boss wrote:
BrianB wrote:I'm pretty sure that the number of people who understand this to be a standard lab technique are VERY SMALL minority. The general population (IMHO) probably doesn't know much, if anything, about gene therapy (myself included). So, to find out the types of things that are going on in the research these days is kind of like "Whoa, really?", and this comic IS funny.

Now, what would be really awesome is if they could find the gene responsible for a lack of humor and figure out how to inject that back into some people....


Really? Because I was transducing E. coli cells not only as an undergrad but even in high school, and I didn't even go to one of those prep schools.


Really. This type of experiment wasn't available when I was in school. I'm going to assume that anyone 35 or older didn't do this in biology class, and anyone 14 or under hasn't yet had the opportunity. So...

2009 US Population of People Aged 15 to 34: 84,643,718
2009 US Population of People /not/ Aged 15 to 34: 222,362,832

So already that limits it to around 25%. Now subtract out all the dropouts, financially-poor districts (urban, rural, or otherwise), vocational-tech students and immigrants who arrived after completing school. I think my statement has some basis in reality.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby BlueLabel » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:23 pm UTC

Alright alright, maybe I was taking it a bit too seriously. Sometimes spending all day in a lab makes you a little myopic. I stand by what I said before though about this comic only really being humorous if you aren't very familiar with the science.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby BlueLabel » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:29 pm UTC

BrianB wrote:
big boss wrote:
BrianB wrote:I'm pretty sure that the number of people who understand this to be a standard lab technique are VERY SMALL minority. The general population (IMHO) probably doesn't know much, if anything, about gene therapy (myself included). So, to find out the types of things that are going on in the research these days is kind of like "Whoa, really?", and this comic IS funny.

Now, what would be really awesome is if they could find the gene responsible for a lack of humor and figure out how to inject that back into some people....


Really? Because I was transducing E. coli cells not only as an undergrad but even in high school, and I didn't even go to one of those prep schools.


Really. This type of experiment wasn't available when I was in school. I'm going to assume that anyone 35 or older didn't do this in biology class, and anyone 14 or under hasn't yet had the opportunity. So...

2009 US Population of People Aged 15 to 34: 84,643,718
2009 US Population of People /not/ Aged 15 to 34: 222,362,832

So already that limits it to around 25%. Now subtract out all the dropouts, financially-poor districts (urban, rural, or otherwise), vocational-tech students and immigrants who arrived after completing school. I think my statement has some basis in reality.



The high school thing doesn't really matter. The point is, anyone with a life science background in undergrad would have almost certainly come across it. With that being said, I know that isn't Randall's specialty so we can't expect him to cater to us. I do see how this would be funny if you had never heard of lentiviral transduction.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby MichaelKarnerfors » Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:02 pm UTC

"Some side-effects may occur..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRnp4UPI-Qk

One of the best teasers ever. :)

/M

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby werdnus » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:26 am UTC

There are, as has been pointed out a wee bit earlier in the thread, some controls available. I think there's a lot of potential for ligand controlled modular genetics in cancer therapy. There's a company out of Virginia (Intrexon; dna.com) developing ligand controlled modified dendrite cell therapies to modulate the amount of synthetic protein (in this case interleukins) is produced. Their core tech, the RheoSwitch, was available for anyone to use (http://www.neb.com/nebecomm/products/producte3000.asp), but it seems to have been discontinued, which might be for intellectual property reasons, but I don't really know.

I guess the point is, people have been interested in developing, and have developed, control systems for transgenic immunotherapy. I don't really think it'll be too long before we start seeing some of these things in large scale clinical trials.

Also, even knowing how common-place lentiviral vectors are in the field, I laughed out load here, because it perfectly reflects my reaction to learning about them as an undergrad. And Randall does hit on the fact that when such therapies are available, the public (and the media) will likely raise a fuss. After all, why do we call the vectors by the broad cognomen "lentiviral," rather than something more specific? Could it be a latent squeamishness?

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby ijuin » Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:53 am UTC

bmonk wrote:
conorjh wrote:Not a problem, but even if it was, here's a solution: scientists believe they may have found a broad spectrum anti-viral

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/antiviral-0810.html


James Blish (Cities in Flight) postulated a (hyper-)broad-spectrum antibiotic (ascomycin, but not the one developed later in RL) and an anti-agathic drug that would prolong life indefinitely if taken regularly--IIRC, it would even stop cancers from killing a person--but he missed the anti-viral drugs.

Yes, and while access to these drugs were an inalienable right to the citizens of a city, they were unilaterally denied on basic principle to anybody who was not a citizen (including foreigners). Fun, huh?

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby senorred » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:41 am UTC

Shush now, Randall. You'll anger the BMEs. It's hard enough for us to graduate without that whole "patients are terrified of our methods" business.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby Hartland » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:27 am UTC

makowolfe wrote:Really? nobody said it? or hinted at it even? come on. t-cells. using the hiv VIRUS! t... virus... zombies... COME ON RESIDENT EVIL! NO REFERENCE AT ALL? i'd say you guys are off your game...


Seconded, though to be fair the T-virus is kind of out of date and old school compared to the other zombie references made.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby highjinx411 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:55 pm UTC

No joke I actually wrote this up as my 7th grade science fair project. It might have been 8th grade. Of course I did not understand the complexities of T-cells I only understood the basics.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby CasualSax » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:31 pm UTC

I realize that the HIV this comic is referencing is neutered, but I'd like to point out a major flaw in people's reasoning: There are tons of different HIV strains. Thus if you have HIV, and sleep with someone who also has HIV, you could catch a new strain of HIV, and be doubly screwed.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby BlueLabel » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:04 pm UTC

CasualSax wrote:I realize that the HIV this comic is referencing is neutered, but I'd like to point out a major flaw in people's reasoning: There are tons of different HIV strains. Thus if you have HIV, and sleep with someone who also has HIV, you could catch a new strain of HIV, and be doubly screwed.


Sorry, but I don't see the relevance to the discussion. What was your point?

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby HungryHobo » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:06 pm UTC

CasualSax wrote:I realize that the HIV this comic is referencing is neutered, but I'd like to point out a major flaw in people's reasoning: There are tons of different HIV strains. Thus if you have HIV, and sleep with someone who also has HIV, you could catch a new strain of HIV, and be doubly screwed.


just to be clear: you don't end up with any form of HIV from this treatment.

It doesn't infect you with a weak strain or anything like that.

the method just uses the machinery of the virus to insert our own custom code into a human cell to re-program it.
the cell doesn't end up infected with HIV.
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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby BrianB » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:33 pm UTC

BlueLabel wrote:
CasualSax wrote:I realize that the HIV this comic is referencing is neutered, but I'd like to point out a major flaw in people's reasoning: There are tons of different HIV strains. Thus if you have HIV, and sleep with someone who also has HIV, you could catch a new strain of HIV, and be doubly screwed.


Sorry, but I don't see the relevance to the discussion. What was your point?


I think his last statement was his point. And since the comic referenced HIV, and he referenced HIV, it is relevant to the thread in general. Sorry it doesn't continue *your* discussion.

That's how this forum works. I only point that out because you appear to be new here.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby BlueLabel » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:38 pm UTC

BrianB wrote:
BlueLabel wrote:
CasualSax wrote:I realize that the HIV this comic is referencing is neutered, but I'd like to point out a major flaw in people's reasoning: There are tons of different HIV strains. Thus if you have HIV, and sleep with someone who also has HIV, you could catch a new strain of HIV, and be doubly screwed.


Sorry, but I don't see the relevance to the discussion. What was your point?


I think his last statement was his point. And since the comic referenced HIV, and he referenced HIV, it is relevant to the thread in general. Sorry it doesn't continue *your* discussion.

That's how this forum works. I only point that out because you appear to be new here.


Thanks, but the reason I responded that way was because he claimed to be pointing out a "major flaw in people's reasoning". I just didn't know what that was in reference to, so I asked for elaboration.

Edit: I'm now guessing he meant people as in "the public at large", not "people talking about this particular comic". My bad.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby Saroset » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:46 am UTC

I found this comic hilarious. Just throwing it out there that I actually busted out laughing.

I'm really surprised at the lack of a sense of humor occurring here. I thought that most people knew that we'd been using modified viruses(virii?) to inject genetic material into cells for a while now. Also, it's not as if people are going to cite an obviously satirical comic -- which deals mostly with math, physics and technology -- as an authoritative source on virology or oncology, therefore it's hardly reasonable to call it irresponsible.

Also, I'm over 14, under 35, a high school drop out with no degree in anything and I understood that the implication wasn't that they were actually infecting people with HIV. This use of viruses in research is only new to people who are entirely uninterested and disconnected to modern medical trends, and that's got very little to do with education or age.

My actual first thought when reading this was an article I read not too incredibly long ago about using a virus similar to the herpes virus to fight HIV. In simian trials it had been so effective that about half of the test subjects appeared to have no trace of HIV in their system after just one year, while the control group was mostly dead or dying of AIDS related illnesses.

And since someone, somewhere is sitting on a P.C. stool thinking that this is insensitive to people who have been diagnosed with cancer or HIV+, it's really not. From the perspective of an HIV+ individual, it's purely and simply amusing. Just felt like being preemptive there.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby asmodai » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

RocketRick wrote:
TaylorP wrote:I remember with Affect is an Action (verb), therefore effect must be a noun. :wink:


With an attitude like that, you'll never be able to effect change.


Stop it, both of you.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby asmodai » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:21 pm UTC

RocketRick wrote:
TaylorP wrote:I remember with Affect is an Action (verb), therefore effect must be a noun. :wink:


With an attitude like that, you'll never be able to effect change.


Frankly, I find your narrowly focused obsession to be utterly affectatious.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:16 pm UTC

asmodai wrote:
RocketRick wrote:
TaylorP wrote:I remember with Affect is an Action (verb), therefore effect must be a noun. :wink:


With an attitude like that, you'll never be able to effect change.


Frankly, I find your narrowly focused obsession to be utterly affectatious.

There is pretty much no need to ever use that word, in any context. And its use is in itself affectatious . . .

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby scarletmanuka » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:15 am UTC

Why, in this discussion of grammar, has nobody yet linked to the appropriate xkcd strip?

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby BIGmexico » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:00 pm UTC

He's not claiming it would be dangerous. He's just saying a patient with a common understanding of diseases might hear "We're treating you with modified HIV" and be upset by the idea. Not everyone is a biomedical engineer, in fact a sizable portion of the population, I believe, is not. He probably should've mentioned that in the alt text or something for us less informed readers.

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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby AlienSpoon » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:06 am UTC

Given some of the reactions in this thread, I do believe that this comic is misleading. So misleading in fact that it prompted me to go to the fora for the first time (and I've read every strip to date!) to check out how people reacted. And now I can't help but posting...

I read the article in the New England Journal of Medicine because I wasn't sure what was humour and what was actual science in the strip. So if you want to understand what really happened, you can read the following (sorry it's a bit long, but I tried to make it clear for everyone who is not a biology major). If you don't care about the science in there (after all, this is a comic strip, not a textbook), you can skip the next 4 paragraphs (or skip this thread entirely, because I rant in the end).

As has been previously reported (but not apparently, understood by everyone here), the MDs in this study didn't infect anyone with HIV. They use a common molecular biology method to reprogram some of the patient's cells: this makes them express a gene (= produce the protein coded in the gene) that wasn't in the person's genome in the first place. The virus is just the way to get this gene into the patient's T cells: since a virus has the ability to enter a cell, have its viral genetic material expressed, assemble many new viral particles from the expressed proteins, break out of the cell and infect new ones (and for most of them, express proteins that allow them to escape the host's immune reaction), they put the gene they wanted the T cells to express into a virus and infected the T cells with the virus. Of course the virus is modified: they took out of the viral genome everything relating to the last steps: the virus cannot express viral proteins, and cannot get out of the cell to infect new ones. It absolutely can't. They only used viral particles of a modified HIV because, as correctly stated in the comic, HIV targets T cells. But the person doesn't have HIV, they just have a few T cells with extra genetic material. This genetic material codes for a receptor (which is a kind of protein) that recognises a specific protein, CD19. CD19 is a protein made by B cells and B cells only. When these T cells are returned to the patient, they can target B cells, which is good because in this type of cancer, cancerous cells are B cells (you saw this coming, I know).

The way these modified T cells multiply is *not* cancer, nor is it out of control. In the normal immune system T cells are activated by foreign proteins (made by virus, bacteria, parasites, etc, i.e. not coded in the person's genome) and not, alas, by cancer cells proteins, because cancer cells are the person's own cells, that just went nuts and won't stop multiply and destroy tissues. Once they are activated, T cells multiply to attack efficiently all the cells carrying that foreign protein. They also stay in the body as memory cells, to respond quickly and efficiently next time the same threat arises. Cancerous cells keep multiplying, indefinitely, which is why a cancer can always come back: if only one cancerous cell is left, then it multiplies and... here we go again. So if you still have the modified T cells months later, it's good. And it's controled: the immune system has its own way of stopping the multiplication of T cells once the infection is under control (of course it has. Biology is so beautiful!). And even though the modified T cells have an extra gene, they still are the patient's immune cells, so they work with the other immunity components like normal cells do. And if and when the cancer comes back, the memory T cells can start multiplying again. Actually, the reason this particular method (with this particular protein expressed by T cells) seems to work because T cells multiply and stick around for months. Previous attempts have yielded poor results because the modified T cells didn't multiply and disappeared quickly from the system.

The idea in this study is to make the patient's immune system attack their own cells, which sounds mad, but it only attacks B cells. Of course it attacks all B cells, healthy or cancerous, but you can live without B cells even though there are consequences (B cells are immune cells, so your immune system is not working well and you are more vulnerable to infections). However it may also be a good thing to end up with no B cells, because the patient's immune system would normally recognise that the protein expressed by the modified T cells doesn't come from the patient's genome: it's foreign, so the immune system should destroy those cells. So, no B cells, no destruction of modified T cells. Good. But bottom line is, the only disease induced by this method is not cancer, nor a viral infection: it's more like an auto-immune disease. But still, I would rather be immunosuppressed than dead.

In this case it works because the scientists chose the right design for the new protein: it's made from bits of other proteins, and this time it has all the good bits so the T cells recognise the B cells AND get activated (i.e. multiply and attack the B cells). Probably, without the CD137 bit (which is a co-stimulator, because you need more than recognition to activate the T cells: there are several signals mediated by several proteins), modified T cells can recognise B cells but don't get properly activated and don't do anything to fight the B cells. So actually, *this* is the breakthrough, not the modified T cells method itself (although this is a proof of concept for the whole approach), and certainly not the use of a viral vector to modify cells: that is mainstream in biology.

Despite all of this, I laughed my ass off at this comic :) . As a molecular biology undergrad I used to tell people how I spent the morning cloning, just to see their boggled eye reaction :shock: . And after that I tried to explain them it is of course not human cloning, and in this case is a perfectly mundane thing to do (but still cool though: you make bacteria produce a protein you designed yourself 8) ) But in this comic, the question of what scientists really did to these patients kept bugging me. As a biology PhD student, I know that we don't do all of this because it's fun (of course we are excited about it, but how could you do such a job if you're not excited about science?), and that we are *not* lunatic crackpots wearing the Ultimate Labcoat of Power to show off. (Actually, we usually wear labcoats when we're cold in the office, or when some journalists want to film us doing sciencey stuff). Now that I've read the actual article to understand what's going on, I think the comic is funny but misleading, which is disappointing to me because xkcd is usually both funny and educational. You can make fun of scientists (you should even - we are quirky folks :mrgreen: ), but please, get the science right, because it's hard enough to explain what we do to the general public (seriously, all news article about this study are crap) without science loving people freaking them out, too. And we need to explain what we do, because non-scientific people are not morons, they can - and they should - understand what we're doing with their tax money to advance mankind. God, I'm starting to sound very messianic there... I'm gonna stop now.

HungryHobo
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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby HungryHobo » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:07 am UTC

I've read some claims that it should be possible to include a self destruct in the modified cells as well so that if the patient is given a certain steroid the T-cells die which might even allow the patient to grow new B cells and go back to normal.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.

Tony
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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby Tony » Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:35 pm UTC

This made it into yesterday's New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/health/13gene.html

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Yakk
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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby Yakk » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:00 pm UTC

That is a good article. Read it.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

grainne15
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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby grainne15 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:01 pm UTC

Just a little update -

http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2012/08/novartis/

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Quicksilver
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Re: 0938: "T-Cells"

Postby Quicksilver » Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:16 am UTC



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