- A promising new way to fight
cancer found in cat feces.
- Toxoplasma gondii earlier found in
infected meat was considered a risk for unborn children and the
- The protein from this parasite is
found to induce an immune response against ovarian cancer in mice.
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that can affect the unborn fetus and also lead to flu-like illness or toxoplasmosis
after consumption of infected meat. This leads to the parasite being treated solely as an infectious agent.
A new study by
Dr. David Bzik and colleagues from Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
College have found that a vaccine developed from the parasite activates the
immune system against ovarian cancer cells.
‘Vaccines from parasites could soon help to fight cancer.’
Response Against Cancer Cells
Cancer cells are
the body's own cells that start dividing rapidly, increasing in number. The
body's immune system is unable to fight these cells as it recognizes cancer
cells as its own cells.
is an abnormal growth of cells in the ovaries of a woman and it is the 5th
cause of cancer-related death in women. Though the cause of ovarian cancer is not yet fully understood, it is believed that
- It could be due to genetic
abnormalities that arise due to the release of an egg every month.
- Heightened secretion of hormones
- A woman has a 1 in 75 chance of
developing ovarian cancer during her lifetime.
- 1 in 100 women could die of
- Ovarian cancer occurs mostly in
Parasite Protein To
Kill Ovarian Cancer Cells
an innate need to not kill the host cells for their own survival sake but at the
same time promote their own growth. This key factor is used to boost the body's
own immune system against cancer cells.
results demonstrate that specialized effector proteins
secreted by T. gondii both before and after host cell invasion trigger and
coordinately control the development of a potent antitumor response." said Dr
The team of
scientists deleted the genes that were responsible for secreting the effector
proteins to study the effect of the protein. The results of the study found
that the effector proteins that were secreted during invasion of the host cell
improved immune response that acted on cancer growth.
That Lead To Killing Tumor Cells
secreted by the parasite increases the immune response and aids in the body
fighting against ovarian tumor growth. Apart from the novel use of parasites in
treating ovarian cancer, the study has opened doorways to further analysis.
Adds Dr. Bzik "Consequently, tracking and understanding the host cell pathways
manipulated by these T. gondii secreted effector proteins can reveal
fundamental mechanisms controlling immunity to infection and can also identify
relevant mammalian cell mechanisms as new targets for devising more effective
therapies against highly aggressive solid tumors."
The mechanism of
action of these proteins will aid in utilizing other similar proteins which
could aid in eliciting an effective response to the growth of solid tumors.
Parasite Under Study
Toxoplasma gondii, there is another organism that is being studied for possible
increase in the immune response against cancer. Listeria monocytogenes is a
bacterium that could potentially be used to improve immune response against
Significance of the Study
- A parasite Toxoplasma gondii found to elicit an immune response against ovarian cancer.
- Listeria monocytogenes may be another possible organism used to break immune tolerance for pancreatic cancer.
- Mechanism and pathway of action of T.gondii protein in breaking immune tolerance towards solid tumors being studied.
- Vaccine from parasites to fight cancer could be a possibility.
- What is ovarian cancer? - (http://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovariancancer/detailedguide/ovarian-cancer-key-statistics)
- Ovarian cancer Facts - (http://www.wcrf.org/int/cancer-facts-figures/data-specific-cancers/ovarian-cancer-statistics)
- Ovarian Cancer Statistics - (http://www.ovariancancer.org/about/statistics/)
- Could parasite found in CAT FECES fight ovarian cancer? Scientists identify specific protein which trains the body to kill tumors - (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3707082/Could-parasite-CAT-FECES-fight-ovarian-cancer-Scientists-identify-specific-protein-trains-body-kill-tumors.html)