The study find that the Immune cells to trigger the body to attack tumours could be improved by a molecule that boosts their function. Therefore Studies with mice have found the improved therapies produced a powerful anti-cancer immune response; which led to tumours shrinking. An immune system is a collection of biological processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumour cells.
Body to attack tumours
It detects a wide variety of agents; from viruses to parasitic worms; and needs to distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy cells and tissues in order to function properly. Detection is complicated as pathogens can evolve rapidly; producing adaptations that avoid the immune system and allow the pathogens to successfully infect their hosts.To survive this challenge; multiple mechanisms evolved that recognize and neutralize pathogens.
Even simple unicellular organisms such as bacteria possess enzyme systems that protect against viral infections. Other basic immune mechanisms evolved in ancient eukaryotes and remain in their modern descendants; such as plants, fish, reptiles; and insects. Initial experiments show the molecule has similar effects on human cells and could boost the success of cancer therapies for people.
Bacteria possess enzyme
The molecule called LL-37—is produce naturally by the body in response to infections; and helps to kill harmful bacteria and viruses. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh find it also influences immune cells and boosts their function. In particular; the molecule boosts the function of specific cells that are responsible for initiating targeted immune responses called dendritic cells.
Dendritic cells have been use as cancer therapies because they can trigger other immune cells to recognise and attack tumours. This approach typically involves taking a sample of the patients’ own cells and growing them in the lab under special conditions before infusing them back into the patient.
Patients’ own cells
The process is expensive and has been hamper by difficulties with preparing sufficient numbers of dendritic cells that have the right characteristics for use as therapies. Researchers at the University’s Centre for Inflammation Research found that adding LL-37 to dendritic cells while they are growing in the lab boosts yields of cells suitable for clinical use.
Treating mice with cells grown in this way helped to shrink tumours and; in some cases, led to complete clearance of the cancer. Early tests suggest LL-37 has similar effects on human cells but further studies are needed; the researchers say. The study, published in the journal Oncoimmunology, was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Royal Society.