cientists at the Cardiff University in the United Kingdom (UK) have discovered a new method of killing breast, prostate, lung, and other forms of cancers, raising hope of ending cancer epidemic worldwide.
According to their findings published in‘Nature Immunology,’ the research, which has been conducted in laboratory mice, has not been tested on human patients yet.
The ‘E>,’an online news website reported that the scientists’ discovery of a new kind of immune cell receptor could pave the way for a new type of T-cell cancer therapy that can attack a diverse range of cancers in human patients without requiring tailored treatment.
Cancer is a large group of diseases that can start in almost any organ or tissue of the body when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, go beyond their usual boundaries to invade adjoining parts of the body and/or spread to other organs.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018, according to the data from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Globally, about one in six deaths is due to cancer. Approximately 70 per cent of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries.
In the study, the T-cell cancer therapy possesses “enormous potential,” to tackle cancer effectively, although works were still at an early stage, the research team said.
The T-cells are a type of white blood cell involved in the function of the immune system. When T-cells are activated by coming into contact with defective or foreign cells in the body, they attack them, helping humans fight off infection and disease, according to the report.
In T-cell therapy, the most common form of which is called Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cells (CAR-T), the scientists hijack and augment this natural function of T-cells to steer them towards tumuor cells in particular.
In CAR-T treatments, Cardiff University scientists extracted T-cells from patients’ blood, genetically engineering them in the laboratory to make them specifically identify and target cancer cells.
Subsequently, the edited T-cells are then multiplied in the lab before being administered to patients.
Senior researcher and cancer immunotherapy specialist, Andrew Sewell, said cancer-targeting via MR1-restricted T-cells is an exciting new frontier that many other scientists can’t wait to explore.
According to him: “It raises the prospect of a single type of T-cell that could be capable of destroying many different types of cancers across the population.”