shape cancer cells. BSIP / Photoshot / PAP
An American team has developed a way to transform cancer cells in a way that kills the tumor itself, in addition to protecting against recurrence of the disease. The researchers tested the method on a mouse model of advanced brain cancer.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have just described a new method that is supposed to destroy existing cancerous tumors and train the immune system to protect against recurrence.
Our group developed a simple idea – To make cancer-killing vaccines from cancer cells – says Dr. Khalid Shah, co-author of the method. – Using genetic engineering, we have reprogrammed cancer cells to kill cancer cells and activate the immune system to eliminate primary tumors, And also prevent the development of the disease.
Cancer vaccines are being studied extensively in different laboratories around the world. The new approach, described in the journal Science Translational Medicine, differs from the prevailing concept. Instead of using dead cancer cells – as is often the case – the researchers used live, mutated cancer cells.
They explain that these cells seek out other cancer cells in the body.
Modified cancer cells destroy tumors
That is why researchers, using the already popular CRISPR-Cas9 system (Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, who participated in her research, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 2020), introduced a gene that causes the release of a substance that destroys cancer. In this way, modified cancer cells destroy tumors already present in the body.
not everything – The cells have also been modified to carry molecules on their surface that alert the immune system. Thanks to this, the immune system continues to attack cells that may have survived the original treatment for a long time. In contrast, the altered therapeutic cells die after completing the task.
With very promising results, the researchers tested their method on mice that had been modified to contain thymus, bone marrow, and liver cells, mimicking the human immune system. The animals suffered from advanced brain cancer. The treatment has been shown to be safe, easy to apply, and effective. The researchers stress that their method can be applied to different types of tumors.
“In the work we do at our center, even if it has a high-tech profile, we never lose sight of the patient. Our goal is to use this innovative approach to create a treatment — a vaccine to kill cancer that will have a long-term impact on medicine.” Dr Shah confirms. (PAP)
“Infuriatingly humble musicaholic. Problem solver. Reader. Hardcore writer. Alcohol evangelist.”