MIT researchers develop new cancer treatment to reawaken immune system -GCFRNG

MIT researchers develop new cancer treatment to reawaken immune system -GCFRNG

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, have discovered a new way to reactivate the immune system to attack tumors, which could allow cancer immunotherapy to be used against more types of cancer.

Immunotherapy is a promising strategy for treating cancer by stimulating the body’s own immune system to destroy tumor cells, but it only works for a few cancers. Researchers at MIT have now discovered a new way to reactivate the immune system to attack tumors, which they hope could allow immunotherapy to be used against more types of cancer.

His novel approach involves removing tumor cells from the body, treating them with chemotherapy drugs, and then putting them back into the tumor. When given together with drugs that activate T cells, these damaged cancer cells appear to act as a distress signal that stimulates the T cells to act.

“When cells are created that have DNA damage but do not die, under certain conditions those living and injured cells can send a signal that wakes up the immune system,” says Michael Yaffe, science professor David H. Koch, director of MIT Center for Precision Cancer Medicine, and a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.

One class of drugs currently used for cancer immunotherapy are checkpoint block inhibitors, which unblock T cells that have become “depleted” and cannot attack tumors. These drugs have been shown to be effective in treating some types of cancer, but they do not work against many others.

Yaffe and his colleagues set out to try to improve the performance of these drugs by combining them with cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs, in the hope that chemotherapy could help boost the immune system to kill tumor cells.

This approach is based on a phenomenon known as immunogenic cell death, in which dead or dying tumor cells send signals that attract the attention of the immune system.

Several clinical trials combining chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs are underway, but so far little is known about the best way to combine these two types of treatment.

The drugs that seem to work best with this approach are those that cause DNA damage. The researchers found that when tumor cell DNA damage occurs, cellular pathways that respond to stress are activated. These pathways send distress signals that trigger T cells to spring into action and destroy not only injured cells but also nearby tumor cells.

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MIT researchers develop new cancer treatment to reawaken immune system -GCFRNG

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