- Tram Ho
A team of scientists from Cardiff University in Wales said they had discovered a new part of our immune system that could be harnessed to treat all types of cancer.
The method has been tested to kill prostate, breast, lung and other cancers in the lab environment and has proved extremely successful. Although not yet ready for clinical trials in humans, the authors say their method has “great potential “.
Their study was published in the journal Nature Immunology.
Scientists discovered an immune cell that “can treat all types of cancer”
Immune cells: A new weapon that destroys cancer
We know that there is an immune system in our body that helps us fight viruses, bacteria, parasites or any foreign agent that invades and causes disease. But the truth is that immune cells rarely detect and attack cancer cells, because they identify the cancer cells as part of the patient’s own body.
However, for many years now, scientists have begun to find a way to retrain the immune system, making it recognize cancer as a disease that needs to be removed from the body.
What they’re focusing on are the T cells in human blood. This is an immune cell that scans the body like radars to gauge if it has a threat to eliminate.
Once the target is detected, be it bacteria, viruses, foreign cells or even cancer cells, the army of T cells will launch an attack to destroy and eliminate them. ” It’s an opportunity to treat all [cancer] patients ,” said Professor Andrew Sewell, author of the study from Cardiff University Medical School.
” No one had previously believed this could happen. But this therapy has increased the prospect of an effective treatment for all types of cancers, a single type of T-cell that is capable of killing many. Different cancers for the entire population . “
Immune cells can attack cancer cells, as long as they identify it as a disease.
How does the new method work?
In order for T-cells to destroy cancer cells, scientists must first show them their target. Natural T-cells have surface receptors that allow them to identify other objects in the body by chemical mechanisms.
But as mentioned, most T cells carry receptors that do not recognize cancer cells. By screening a series of blood samples except for a biological bank in Wales, researchers at Cardiff University accidentally found a T-cell carrying a special receptor that finds and destroys a series of Different cancer cells.
This effect was tested and verified by them in a laboratory environment, with samples containing lung, skin, blood, colon, breast, bone, prostate and ovarian cancer cells. , kidney and cervical cancer.
It is also important that this T-cell does not attack other healthy cells in the body. This particular T-cell receptor interacts with a molecule called MR1, which is located on the surface of every cell in the human body.
Previous studies have shown that MR1 may indicate metabolic abnormalities that cancer cells create. It was an intelligence officer installed into the tumor and providing information to the immune system.
” We were the first to describe a T cell that found MR1 in cancer cells – something that has never been done before, this is the first time [this effect has been observed, described and tested.” experience], “said Dr. Garry Dolton, a study co-author is also working at Cardiff University said.
The MR1 receptor may indicate metabolic abnormalities that cancer cells create. It was an intelligence officer installed into the tumor and providing information to the immune system.
Why do their new findings make sense?
In fact, many scientific groups around the world have been developing many immune therapies that promise to help treat some cancers. Prominent among these is the CAR-T therapy, which was approved by the US in 2018.
CAR-T is an immunotherapy for cancer treatment. In it, doctors extract T cells from a patient’s immune system, seeking to combine it with artificial chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) receptors.
After forming the CAR-T complex, this drug will be transmitted back to the patient’s body. The CAR receptor looks for and attaches it to the target cancer cells. T-cells are thus able to attack the disease, which it could not do before, considering cancer cells as a normal part of the body.
In a number of clinical trials and actual cases, CAR-T has shown remarkable efficacy, helping some end-stage cancer patients, once considered incurable remedy to complete remission. .
However, the weakness of CAR-T is that it requires CAR immune antigen to be specifically tuned for different cancers. CAR can only be trained to attack certain cancer cells, with certain goals.
CAR-T has been very effective in patients with leukemia , but it has been shown to be limited in the treatment of solid tumors.
Now, researchers at Cardiff University say the newly discovered T-cell receptor could lead to a ” universal ” cancer treatment. It will not only work with many types of cancers, including the solid tumors mentioned above, but also work in the entire population.
Theoretically, this therapy is not restricted by racial group or any object at all.
The new therapy will be similar to CAR-T if it is successfully developed.
What will the actual treatment look like?
Like immunotherapy CAR-T. Initially, doctors will take blood samples from patients with cancer. Their T cells are extracted and then genetically engineered to reprogram them so that they generate cancer-receptor receptors.
The upgraded immune cells will be duplicated to millions of copies, forming an army, a medicine.
The doctor then transmits all of these T-cells back into the patient’s body and monitors how they clean the cancer cells in their body.
However, until now, new T-cell receptor and receptor immunotherapy targeting MR1 has only been tested in mice. Researchers at Cardiff University say it is only an initial result and more research will be needed to assess the safety and effectiveness of this method before it can be clinically tested in humans.
But with the mice in remission after receiving new T-cells, they said the results were “very encouraging “.
An American cancer patient being treated with immunotherapy.
Other oncologists commented on this study
Researchers Lucia Mori and Gennaro De Libero from the University of Basel in Switzerland, said the new Cardiff University study offers a ” great potential” .
But they also note that success in the in vitro and rat trials is only a preliminary result. It is still too early to say whether these T cells work in humans and with all cancers.
Daniel Davis, a professor of immunology at the University of Manchester, agrees: “So far, this is a very basic research and is not yet close to a real drug for patients.”
However, he also cannot deny the potential of the new type of T cell. ” It is without a doubt an interesting discovery in both respects. It enhances our basic knowledge of how the immune system works and opens up the potential for drugs.” new in the future “.
Reference BBC, Telegraph
Source : Genk