New type of Immunotherapy could help develop better cancer treatments


In the last ten years, immunotherapy for cancer has advanced to a great extent. With this, effective treatments for cancer are available that many patients can receive. However, certain types of cancer do not respond to currently available immunotherapy.

A study carried out by the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports a new kind of immunotherapy that gives hopes of more lines of treatment for cancer in the future.

In fact, cancer cells have the ability to retune immune cells so as to benefit tumor growth. After several years of research, exploiting the immune system in the fight against cancer has been possible. In doing so, different antibodies can activate immune system T cells to invade the cancer cells.

Macrophages carry out crucial function in immune system

Meanwhile, macrophages are a different type of cell that play an important role in the immune system. In the immune system, macrophages replenish T cells in an area that has been affected by foreign bodies and regulate their function. Unfortunately, certain tumors develop ways to block the immune system, and also make macrophages in the tumor shut the T cells.

“Consequent upon the study, a new type of immunotherapy is developed. In this immunotherapy, specific antibodies activate the macrophages to support the immune system and destroy the cancer cells,” says the last author of the study at the Department of Microbiology, tumor, and Cell Biology at Karolinska Institutet.

In addition, the new immunotherapy activates NK cells, another type of important cell in the immune system, shows the study. These NK cells work along the T cells to destroy the tumor, as opposed to currently used immunotherapies, which only activate T cells.

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