New immunotherapy to beat cancer

September 11, 2020

Cancer immunotherapy is the manipulation of the immune responses naturally present in the human body to fight cancer. Often, these immune responses are blocked by cells or molecules that prevent them from killing cancer cells, and the tumour is able to establish itself and grow.

In 2004, Sophie Lucas, researcher at the University of Louvain de Duve Institute, began studying the blocking of immune defences in tumours in order to understand the functioning of cells that are said to be 'immunosuppressive' (which block the body's immune responses). The goal was to identify and remove them, thus stimulating antibodies to act against the tumour. The identified culprits are regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs): highly immunosuppressive cells in cancer patients. In 2009, Prof. Lucas discovered GARP, a molecule located on the surface of Tregs.

In 2018, Prof. Lucas finally managed to understand the role of GARP: the molecule acts as a messenger for Tregs, by sending signals that block immune responses. She is developing a tool (anti-GARP antibodies) to neutralise and prevent the messenger from sending its blocking signals. This important discovery was published in the journal Science.

In August 2020, Nature Communications published the results of the first tests carried out by Prof. Lucas and her team. The tests are very promising: UCLouvain scientists succeeded in neutralising Tregs in cancerous mice using anti-GARP antibodies. If the messenger is neutralised, immune responses are not blocked and can again eliminate cancer cells. The tumour regresses quickly provided the anti-GARP antibodies are combined with another proven immunotherapy (anti-PD1 antibodies). Thus the UCLouvain team combines two complementary immunotherapy approaches, acting in different ways on the immune system, to increase the effectiveness of cancer treatment. And it works!

What's next? Conducting these same tests on humans to provide a more effective therapeutic solution in the fight against cancer.
-end-


Université catholique de Louvain

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.