Novel cancer therapies with donor immune system presented

Novel cancer therapies with donor immune system presented

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Identify and destroy cancer cells by adding mutant cancer cell DNA
If our body's immune system does not recognize existing dangers, it cannot do anything about it. So is it possible to fight diseases in our body with the help of a foreign immune system? Researchers have now found that if cancer cells are not recognized by their own immune system, foreign immune cells can certainly take on this task.

If our own body is unable to recognize health risks and take action against them, foreign immune cells could perhaps take on this important task. Scientists from the Dutch Cancer Institute and University Medicine in Oslo have now found in an investigation that by adding mutant DNA from cancer cells to immune cells from healthy donors, the affected person's cells produce an immune response. The experts published the results of their study in the journal "Sciene".

New treatment method enables the immune system to recognize cancer again
A pilot study has now shown that if cancer cells are not recognized by the immune system, foreign immune cells are able to protect us from the disease, the authors explain. The researchers added mutated DNA from cancer cells to immune cells from cancer patients. This in turn generated an immune response. The scientists succeeded in returning the target structures from the donor cells to the immune cells of the cancer patients. This process made it possible for the body's immune system to recognize the cancer cells again, say the doctors.

Oncological immunotherapy is making great strides
Oncological immunotherapy is currently developing extremely quickly. This type of therapy aims to support the body's immune system in the fight against cancer with the help of newly developed technologies, the scientists explain. There are a number of reasons why our immune system is unable to recognize and fight cancer cells. For the first time, the activity of our immune cells is controlled by very different so-called stop mechanisms, the experts say. These can also disrupt the functions of our immune cells. There are other studies that are testing therapies that aim to turn off these stop mechanisms. However, there are also cases in which the cancer cells in some patients are initially not recognized by the immune system as foreign or harmful, the authors explain. For these reasons, the main goal of so-called oncological immunotherapy is the development of new strategies for better identification of cancer cells. If our immune system recognizes cancer cells better, it can also fight them much more effectively, the researchers add.

Detection of dangers from a borrowed immune system
The new study by the Dutch Cancer Institute tried to determine whether it is possible to use a borrowed immune system in a body suffering from cancer, the scientists explain. There was of course the possibility that our own body would recognize the new immune system as foreign. In our body so-called T cells are responsible for the recognition of foreign cells. These T cells scan the surface of other cells. So they try to determine whether foreign protein fragments are present on these surfaces, say the doctors. If fragments of cells were recognized as foreign, they could then also be destroyed by the T cells. Cancer cells are defective proteins, they can also express foreign proteins. These proteins, known as neoantigens, are then recognized as foreign to the body. The same applies to cells infected by a virus that express viral proteins via the receptors on their surface, the authors add.

Foreign T cells recognize a significant number of neoantigens
The researchers first identified all the relevant neoantigens on the surface of melanoma cells from three different subjects. In this way, the doctors tried to find out whether the T cells reacted to all foreign protein fragments of the cancer cells. The researchers found that the cancer cells of all three patients released many different neoantigens. The T cells of the three patients failed to recognize them as foreign, the researchers say. So the experts began to test whether the same neoantigens can be recognized by T cells from healthy donors. And the experts added that a significant number of neoantigens could be recognized by the foreign donor T cells, which are normally not found by the patient's immune system.

The new method clearly increases the immune response of cancer patients
The results of our investigation clearly show that it is possible to increase the immune response of cancer patients. Of course, there are other properties that let us recognize cancer cells as foreign, the authors say. New research will certainly deal with these properties in the future. Researchers are thinking of a way to identify a specific donor per cancer patient that fits the neoantigens perfectly. For this, doctors could use the receptor as a template, which is used by the donor T cells. With this it is then possible to genetically modify the patient's T cells. This would enable them to recognize harmful cancer cells again, says author Ton Schumacher from the Dutch Cancer Institute.

Cancer-specific immunity from the blood of healthy donors is transferable
The study found that it is really possible to outsource our immune system to a donor, the scientists say. Of course, much more research and work is needed so that patients can also benefit from this discovery. The doctors are looking for new ways to increase the so-called flow rate. For this reason, the researchers are currently developing new methods with high flow rates for the identification of neoantigens in cancer cells. After recognition by the T cells, the answering cells were then isolated, the experts explain. The new study makes it clear that we can get cancer-specific immunity from the blood of healthy donors, the doctors say. This is a very promising approach for further research. (as)

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Video: Stephen Schoenberger: How Does Cancer Avoid the Immune System? (August 2022).