SCIENTISTS at the WA Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) have made exciting progress in their quest to help patients fight cancer using their body’s own immune system.
The Perth-based team from the Laboratory for Tumour Immunology, led by internationally renowned Professor Ruth Ganss, has published a paper on their discoveries in important American scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Until now, immunotherapy has not been very successful in treating cancer because tumours are very resistant to immune cells,” explained author Dr Anna Johansson.
“As a cancerous tumour grows, it forms a solid ball which is difficult for immune cells to get into and even if they can penetrate the tumour, the environment inside it either kills the cells or makes it difficult for them to function.”
“We engineered a protein called TNF-Alpha so that it went straight to a pancreatic tumour and stayed there without toxice side effects outside the tumour. TNF-Alpha affected the blood vessels in the tumour in a surprising way which opened the solid ball so that immune cells could get inside,” she said.
via Perth Now
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