(Newswire.net — January 25, 2020) — The newly discovered part of our immune system could be used as a kind of armor in the fight against all types of cancer, scientists say.
A team from the University of Cardiff discovered during some laboratory tests a method that could be used to kill prostate, breast, lung and other cancers.
These findings published in the scientific journal Immunity, are not yet tested on patients, but scientists say there is huge potential.
Experts say that while it is still in its early stages of development, this finding is significant news that proves our immune system is capable of curing any disease. Why it doesn’t work on cancer so far is because cancer cells are often cloaked with healthy cell information. If scientists can “program” immune cells to locate and destroy cancer cells this would be the ultimate breakthrough in medicine.
What did they discover?
It is thought that enzyme MR1 is responsible for giving distorted information on what is going on inside a cancerous cell to the immune system.
Scientists have sought unconventional and new ways in which the immune system naturally attacks tumors. They found a T-cell in human blood. It is an immune cell that can scans the body to assess whether there is a threat that needs to be eliminated. The difference is that these cells can attack various types of cancer.
“We are the first to describe a T-cell that finds MR1 in cancer cells – that hasn’t been done before, this is the first of its kind,” research fellow Garry Dolton told the BBC.
How does it work?
T-cells have receptors on their surface that can detect everything at the chemical level. Among other things, a T-cell can find and kill various types of cancerous cells – in the lungs, blood, skin, colon, breast, prostate, ovaries, kidneys and uterus. And most important of all, it does not damage normal tissue. The exact way of how it works is still being explored.
What does this mean in practice?
The idea is to take a blood sample from a patient who has cancer. T-cells would be excised, genetically modified, and reprogrammed as receptors for finding tumors.
The advanced cells would grow in large quantities in the laboratory and then the doctors would return them to the patients’ bodies.
This method, however, has so far only been tested on animals and cells in the laboratory and a series of safety checks are required.