A new immune study out of Cardiff University has shown promising results in the fight against cancer.
The findings which were published in Nature Immunology, was based around new ways to use the body's immune system defenses to attack tumors. In particular, they focused on a T-cell in the blood that can scan the body for threats using "receptors" on their surface that allow them to "see" at a chemical level, which helps them attack unhealthy cells while leaving healthy cells untouched. This could be used to attack any form of cancer.
"It raises the prospect of a 'one-size-fits-all' cancer treatment, a single type of T-cell that could be capable of destroying many different types of cancers across the population," researcher Prof Andrew Sewell told the BBC.
T-cell cancer therapies already exist and the development of cancer immunotherapy. The most famous example is CAR-T, which genetically engineers the patient's own T-cells, reinjects them into the body so they can attack cancer cells. Early results have been promising, with some very dramatic results, but there are limitations, especially against "solid cancers" - those that form tumours rather than blood cancers such as leukemia.
This new breakthrough could help broaden the therapy to target all kinds of cancers. So far the tests have only been done on animals and on cells in laboratories, but researchers are optimistic about what this could mean in the future.
From the BBC:
Lucia Mori and Gennaro De Libero, from University of Basel in Switzerland, said the research had "great potential" but was at too early a stage to say it would work in all cancers.
"We are very excited about the immunological functions of this new T-cell population and the potential use of their TCRs in tumour cell therapy," they said.