A recent article from Cancer Research UK discusses immunotherapy, and the attention its role in the future of cancer treatment may play.
In response to the interest in immunotherapy at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), this article outlines the basics of this form of treatment.
Our immune system is a powerful guardian of our health. Anything that suppresses it leaves us vulnerable to disease. Research on immunotherapy is investigating how cancer manages to “trick” our T-Cells, the powerful agents that fight any “invaders,” into not attacking the cancer cells.
T-cells patrol our bodies, constantly scanning anything they bump into. Each time they encounter another cell, a whole array of molecules in their surface makes contact with others on the surface of the cell under scrutiny. Depending on the presence or absence of certain contacts, T-cells ‘decide’ whether to call in reinforcements, prime themselves for action, or stand down and move along to the next cell.
The article states that “Tumor cells have developed a ‘secret handshake’ that they use to trick our T-cells into holding fire.”Researchers have found that the best results occur when a combination of drugs are used. A molecule called CTLA4 is another very similar immune therapy, which targets part of a completely different T-cell ‘handshake’.
This article provides details into how the cells work, as well as into the possible course of future research. Click here for the full article.
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