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Home » Is The Cure For Cancer Already Inside Us? – Dr. Shana Kelley (Transcript)

Is The Cure For Cancer Already Inside Us? – Dr. Shana Kelley (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Dr. Shana Kelley’s talk titled “Is The Cure For Cancer Already Inside Us?” at TEDxChicago conference.

Scientist Dr. Shana Kelley’s talk, “Is The Cure For Cancer Already Inside Us?”, explores the groundbreaking research conducted by her team in the field of rare cell collection and profiling, with a focus on finding rare immune cells capable of fighting cancer. She describes the technological challenges they faced, such as the slow processing speed of cell analysis, and their breakthrough in massively parallelizing cell profiling, which significantly accelerated their research.

Kelley discusses the potential of using the body’s own immune cells for cancer treatment, highlighting the advances in immunotherapy, especially TIL therapy for solid tumors, and its remarkable success in treating melanoma. However, she notes the limitations and high costs associated with current immunotherapies.

The talk shifts to introduce their novel approach of using circulating tumor-reactive lymphocytes (CTRLs) found in blood, bypassing the need for tumor tissue and potentially offering a more practical and effective treatment. This method has shown promising results in mice, leading to the disappearance of tumors and sustained immune response. Kelley expresses optimism about the future of this research, emphasizing its potential to transform cancer treatment by harnessing the power of the immune system, making it more accessible and cost-effective.

Listen to the audio version here:


Introduction to Rare Cell Research

My research team and I are rare cell collectors. Some people collect rare stamps or rare coins, but we’ve been working for over a decade to develop new systems that allow us to find, collect, and profile the rarest of human cells. Cells that are one in a million that we think may have tremendous potential for the treatment of disease.

Our core idea was that if we could comb through vast collections of cells from the circulation of the human body, we might be able to find rare disease-fighting cells. And if we could do this type of exhaustive search, for example, in a cancer patient, we might be able to find incredibly rare immune cells from the blood that had encountered a tumor, knew how to recognize cancer cells, and eradicate them. We knew that this was going to be like looking for a needle in a haystack. But if we were successful, we thought that we might be able to unlock new possibilities in the treatment or for the treatment of cancer.

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