About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Powerful T Cells Aimed in New Cancer Immunotherapy Against Tumors

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on May 14, 2014 at 10:41 AM
Font : A-A+

 Powerful T Cells Aimed in New Cancer Immunotherapy Against Tumors

A new immunotherapy treatment has been developed in response to which the deadly skin cancers in mice shrank. A study, published by UC San Francisco researchers in the May 2014 edition of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that this treatment may complement other "immunotherapies" developed recently to boost the body's own defenses against disease threats.

Using a mouse version of a human drug that is popular for treating osteoporosis, the UCSF researchers discovered a way to manipulate the thymus, a gland situated at the base of the neck above the heart, to alter its activity so that some of the specialized immune cells that pass through it will go on to battle cancer cells.

Advertisement

"After treatment, mice that normally would be dead in a week or two rejected tumors and survived," said Mark Anderson, MD, PhD, an immunologist with the UCSF Diabetes Center and the leader of the study.

The thymus plays a key role in educating T cells of the immune system about which molecules encountered within the body belong to microbes and ought to be attacked, and which are a normal part of the body and ought to be tolerated.
Advertisement

Anderson and colleagues have changed this education curriculum to better fight cancer. Normally, the immune system regards tumor tissue as a part of the body, and therefore does not target the molecules found on tumor cells.

As blood courses through the inner part of the thymus, specialized thymus cells cull the subset of T cells that targets the body's own tissues, so that these tissues are not attacked by the immune system, a phenomenon called central tolerance. Anderson turned the tables, removing the thymus cells that cull the T cells.

The researchers marked these thymus cells for destruction by targeting a protein molecule they need to develop normally, called RANK-L. Treatment that inhibited RANK-L reduced their numbers by more than 90 percent. As a result of the elimination of the thymus cells, T cells that target tumors survived and escaped central tolerance. Just two weeks of treatment was sufficient to generate enough tumor-specific T cells to destroy deadly melanoma skin cancers in the mice.

One theoretical concern with the anti RANK-L strategy, Anderson said, is autoimmunity, in which the immune system destroys normal tissue, because the process of learning to tolerate "self" molecules is disrupted by treatment.

Although the researchers detected T cells that target molecules found on normal tissue, they did not observe significant autoimmune reactions in treated mice. In addition, within ten weeks of stopping treatment, immune responses were back to normal.

RANK-L plays a role not only in the development of specialized thymus cells, but also in the development of other types of cells in the body, including the osteoclasts that break down bone. The UCSF researchers used a mouse antibody targeted against RANK-L, but a human antibody directed against RANK-L forms the basis of the long-term osteoporosis treatment denosumab, which preserves bone mass by targeting osteoclasts.

Anderson suggested that patients treated with denosumab should be periodically evaluated for signs of autoimmunity or other defects in central tolerance.

Arousing the body's own immune defenses to fight cancer using immunotherapy drugs is a recent success story, with ipilimumab, a drug first developed and tested by UCSF and UC Berkeley researchers, now FDA-approved for the treatment of melanoma.

Ipilimumab turns off the brakes that restrain the immune system, acting on immune cells throughout the body. The new strategy developed by Anderson's lab team also releases the brakes on immune cells itching for a fight. But it is a distinctly different and complementary approach.

"This is another strategy for getting the immune system to no longer tolerate tumors, one that relies on different molecular components of the immune system," Anderson said.

The T cells unleashed by temporarily blocking central tolerance might clamp down on their cancer-cell targets more doggedly than weaker antibodies unleashed by other immunotherapies after central tolerance already has culled T cells, Anderson said.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Link between Dietary Intake of Plant-based Essential Fatty Acids and Death Risk
Aspirin may be Harmful When Used for Preventing 1st Heart Attack, Stroke
Pregnancy Complications Elevated Among Symptomatic COVID-19 Women
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Cancer and Homeopathy Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Immunisation Cancer Facts Cancer Tattoos A Body Art Dealing with Pollen Allergy Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant Cancer Immunotherapy 

Recommended Reading
Oral Immunotherapy in Treating Egg Allergy in Children
Growing children should eat eggs, as they are an important source of proteins and calcium. ......
Foods that Fight Cancer
A plateful of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes is the best diet to fight most ....
Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancer immunotherapy is a new advancement in cancer treatment that uses certain components of a pers...
Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases
Cigarette smoking, unhealthy diets, overuse of alcohol, and physical inactivity are some of the most...
Dealing with Pollen Allergy
The plants around you that give you sniffles in your nose at specific time of the year are the sourc...
Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant
What is dandelion? Dandelion greens are nutrition powerhouses with a wide range of health benefits. ...
Tattoos A Body Art
Tattoos are a rage among college students who sport it for the ‘cool dude’ or ‘cool babe’ look...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use