Are Our Own Cells Giving Cancer a Helping Hand?

th (1)New research from the University of Michigan has shown the key to tackling cancer may lie in the suppression of one of our own immune cells.

The cells are known as myeloid derived suppressor cells and are immune cells within the human body. The trial data was published in the journal Immunity and the research focused on the most deadly form of ovarian cancer, epithelial carcinoma. This is considered a brilliant research area as this cancer has shown some chemotherapy-resistance.

It is thought that cancer stem cells are largely resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy and finding out how to kill them will bring us one step closer to being able to eliminate cancer. Their resistance is what leads to longer, multi-cycle treatment.

The cells have been shown to help cancer by enhancing the expression of the cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells make up just 1-3% of the mass of a cancer but are responsible for 100% of the tumour’s growth. They also help by spurring on metastasis (the spread of the cancer) and inhibiting the activation of T-cells (leading to immunosuppression).

Now scientists hope to be able to focus their research on controlling the activity of the myeloid derived suppressor cells to enable the cancer to become weaker and more responsive to treatment.

To read about more about the research, please click here:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265749.php

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/understandingcancer/immunesystem/allpages

Image of epithelial carcinoma cell is provided courtesy of http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/cancer/cancer_types/ovarian.html

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