BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Hailed as one of the most significant breakthroughs in the last decade, this new type of immunotherapy can extend the life of a patient from a few months to a few years. A team of British scientists at the University College of London discovered that improved cell tagging may help patients with cancer.
Recently, a team of researchers from the University College of London has discovered a new method to boost the body’s immune response to cancer cells. Hailed as one of the most important discoveries in oncology, this new type of immunotherapy may grant our bodies the means to eradicate all cancer cells at once instead of cellular subsets.
Far from being a one-man effort, this research project brought together scientists from across Europe and the United States. Pooling their resources and knowledge, the international team figured out a way to boost the response of immunotherapies.
Traditional immunotherapies sought a way to increase the yield and efficiency of the so-called T-cells, which are responsible for tracking down and destroying malignant cells. So far, the results of immunotherapy have been inconclusive. For some patients, the therapy yielded results in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, while in others was inefficient.
The UCL researcher said that the tracking problem resided in the T-cell’s capability of keeping track of all the genetic mutation occurring throughout the body. In the first stage of cellular mutation, the malignant bodies produce a substance called antigen. When the body detects the presence of this substance, it triggers the body’s immune response.
But cancer has its ways of defending itself from our body’s immune system. The new cancer-killing therapy aims at developing an improved tagging method. This means that instead of instructing the T-cells to hunt down and destroy a particular subset of cancerous cells, they can be taught to seek down the root of all evil and eradicate it for good.
Sergio Quezada, one of the study’s co-authors, explained the therapy’s mechanism by comparing it to police activity. The researcher said that instead of letting the police chase down hoodlums and smugglers in various neighborhoods, it may be best to supply them with the information needed to eradicate the kingpin.
Regarding therapy, the doctors may use this improved form of customized immunotherapy to boost the efficiency of the immune response. Of course, this tailored therapy won’t be cheap, but the researchers declared that they are currently working on a way to reduce the cost of such treatment.
Peter Johnson, the chief clinician, working at Cancer Research UK, announced that the new immunotherapy will likely come in the form of a vaccine. He also said that if everybody goes well, the vaccine will hit the market in the next two years.
An international team of scientists has discovered that improved cell tagging may help patients with cancer and that a working vaccine might be made available in the next two years.