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By new immune cells the dream of a weapon, anti-cancer global
the ROME - For now it is only a dream. But scientists read the results of the first laboratory tests on mice, to which they will have to follow many others, and what lies ahead is very interesting: a future new weapon of precision against cancer, capable of targeting solid tumors and liquid, sparing the healthy cells. A weapon the global that can be seen in the new immune cells on the surface which is a receptor potentially able to recognize tumor cells of different type. The scientists themselves are practicing caution. Because they know that the road is still long. For the authors of the research, published in the journal Nature Immunology, is open to "interesting opportunities" for forms of immunotherapy, "global", so far, considered impossible.

- Coordinated by Michael D. Crowther, John D. Phillips and Andrew K. Sewell, researchers have identified new immune cells, thanks to the technique that cut and paste Dna, the Crispr. In this way they discovered that they belong to the family of the killer cells of the immune system, T lymphocytes, and that on their surface there is a receptor that is very particular, indicated with the acronym Tcr (T-cell receptor). Thanks to it the T cells can recognize molecules present on the surface of many cancer cells, both those that are found on healthy cells. However, the receptor is able to distinguish the first from the second, to kill only the first. No discrimination, instead, for the tumor cells: the receptor is capable of hitting solid tumors and liquid.

T cell receptors so far were able to recognise proteins called human leukocyte Antigen or Hla (human leukocyte antigen), but they couldn't be a weapon univrsale to the fact that the Hla antigen is different from individual to individual. The benefit of new leukocytes T is, instead, to recognize a protein that is double of the Hla, indicated with the acronym Mr1, which does not vary from individual to individual. The latter could then become the new target of immunotherapy, i.e. the strategy, which aims to attack the tumors by hurling against them the immune system.

The first experiments conducted in the laboratory are interesting: the new T cells have been shown to be able to recognize and kill tumors of the lungs, skin, colon, breast, bone, prostate, ovaries, kidneys, and cervix. In all experiments, moreover, have attacked only the cancer cells, ignoring healthy ones. Positive preliminary results obtained in mice altered with human cancer cells and the human immune system.

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