Nav: Home

A new T-cell population for cancer immunotherapy

May 23, 2017

Scientists at the University of Basel in Switzerland have, for the first time, described a new T cell population that can recognize and kill tumor cells. The open access journal eLife has published the results.

T lymphocytes (short T cells) are a special type of cells that recognize germs and protect our body from infections. Their second important job is to ride the body of harmed cells, such as tumor cells. T cells are able to identify tumor cells because they look different than normal healthy cells. The way in which they do this is governed by surface expression of T-cell receptors (TCR). Each receptor interacts with a specific molecule on the surface of the target cell.

One of the molecules recognized by TCR is the MHC class I-related MR1 molecule, which so far had only been known to attract TCRs to infected cells. To date, it was unknown that MR1 can also attract TCRs to cancer cells.

The research group lead by Prof. Gennaro De Libero from the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel has now published a study that describes a novel T cell population that recognizes MR1-positive tumor cells. The researchers have named these new T cells MR1T. MR1T cells recognize and kill many human tumors derived from different tissues. Cancer cells carrying the surface molecule MR1 can thus be seen by MR1T cells.

Major implications for cancer treatment

The transfer of TCR genes into the T cells of patients confers the recognition of tumor cells, implicating transfer of TCR genes from MR1T cells as a novel approach to tumor immunotherapy. "This new type of tumor cell recognition and killing has widespread implications and could fundamentally change the future of cancer treatment," says De Libero, Professor for Tumor Immunology at the University of Basel.

The researchers' next challenge will be the identification of the tumor-associated antigens that induce MR1T cells activation and killing of cancer cells. These studies will pave the way for new and broader strategies to combat human tumors.
-end-
Original source

Marco Lepore, Artem Kalinichenko, Salvatore Calogero, Pavanish Kumar, Bhairav Paleja, Mathias Schmaler, Vipin Narang, Francesca Zolezzi, Michael Poidinger, Lucia Mori, Gennaro De Libero

Functionally diverse human T cells recognize non-microbial antigens presented by MR1

eLife (2017), doi: 10.7554/eLife.24476

University of Basel

Related Cancer Cells Articles:

Cancer cells send signals boosting survival and drug resistance in other cancer cells
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that cancer cells appear to communicate to other cancer cells, activating an internal mechanism that boosts resistance to common chemotherapies and promotes tumor survival.
A protein that stem cells require could be a target in killing breast cancer cells
Researchers have identified a protein that must be present in order for mammary stem cells to perform their normal functions.
Single gene encourages growth of intestinal stem cells, supporting 'niche' cells -- and cancer
A gene previously identified as critical for tumor growth in many human cancers also maintains intestinal stem cells and encourages the growth of cells that support them, according to results of a study led by Johns Hopkins researchers.
Prostate cancer cells grow with malfunction of cholesterol control in cells
Advanced prostate cancer and high blood cholesterol have long been known to be connected, but it has been a chicken-or-egg problem.
Immune therapy scientists discover distinct cells that block cancer-fighting immune cells
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre scientists have discovered a distinct cell population in tumours that inhibits the body's immune response to fight cancer.
New system developed that can switch on immune cells to attack cancer cells
Researchers have developed an artificial structure that mimics the cell membrane, which can switch on immune cells to attack and destroy a designated target.
Hybrid immune cells in early-stage lung cancer spur anti-tumor T cells to action
Researchers have identified a unique subset of these cells that exhibit hybrid characteristics of two immune cell types -- neutrophils and antigen-presenting cells -- in samples from early-stage human lung cancers.
New analytical technology to quantify anti-cancer drugs inside cancer cells
University of Oklahoma researchers will apply a new analytical technology that could ultimately provide a powerful tool for improved treatment of cancer patients in Oklahoma and beyond.
Sleep hormone helps breast cancer drug kill more cancer cells
Tiny bubbles filled with the sleep hormone melatonin can make breast cancer treatment more effective, which means people need a lower dose, giving them less severe side effects.
Breast cancer tumor-initiating cells use mTOR signaling to recruit suppressor cells to promote tumor
Baylor College of Medicine researchers report a new mechanism that helps cancer cells engage myeloid-derived suppressor cells.

Related Cancer Cells Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...