Researchers say they have found a way to use a human being’s own immune system to kill cancer cellsLondon: Scientists hailed a new discovery that could be a “game-changer” in cancer treatment as it used a person’s own immune system to kill the affected cells and could potentially end the use of toxic chemotherapy.
The researchers at University College London (UCL) said that they have found a way to use a human being’s own immune system to kill cancer cells, Health News reported.
According to their report in ‘Science’ journal, they have developed a way of finding unique markings within a tumour allowing the body to target and fight the disease.
“The logic of the treatment was that the response should be much more specific than anything tried so far. It was a game changer for cancer,” said Sergio Quezada.
The discovery could mean that instead of being given toxic chemotherapy, patients could in future be given vaccines made from proteins in their own tumours that activate the immune system to wage war on the cancer.
As only the tumour cells have the particular biological signature, healthy tissue would not be attacked by the immune response.
“Now we can prioritise and target tumour antigens that are present in every cell the Achilles heel of these highly complex cancers,” Professor Charles Swanton, from the UCL Cancer Institute, said.
There were two approaches being suggested for targeting the trunk mutations. The first was to develop cancer vaccines for each patient that trained the immune system to spot them.
The second was to “fish” for immune cells that already targeted those mutations and swell their numbers in the lab, and then put them back into the body.
These bespoke treatments for patients with advanced cancer could enter the human trials stage within two years.
Such an approach, which involves mapping the DNA in a patient’s tumour sample, would help to overcome the ability of cancers to resist therapies by altering their genetic make-up.
The work was at an early stage but scientists were optimistic about similar targets for all types of cancers being found.
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