Nav: Home

Tumour immune cells could aid cancer therapies, study shows

November 07, 2018

A pioneering technique designed to spot differences between immune cells in tumours could speed the development of cancer treatments, research suggests.

Scientists say the approach could be used to help doctors choose the best treatments for individual patients and predict which tumours are likely to respond to a particular therapy.

It could help target the use of immunotherapy - a new form of treatment that uses the body's own defences to tackle cancer. This therapy has shown great promise in recent years, but identifying which patients will respond best is a challenge for doctors.

The new approach - based on gene analysis - makes it easier to spot the range of immune cells present in a tumour. These cells could help the body detect and kill cancer when activated by certain drugs, scientists say.

Traditional treatments such as radiology do not discriminate between cell types and attack both cancerous and healthy cells, often leading to side-effects.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh analysed genes from anonymised medical databases of thousands of tumours to identify genes associated with immune cells.

This allowed them to quickly detect immune cells in a tumour based on their genetic code even when they were mixed in with harmful cancerous cells and normal cells.

They say that this resource - called ImSig - paints the best picture of tumours to date and will allow scientists to study how certain immune cell types affect cancer growth.

In future, this could help doctors decide which patients were most likely to respond to immunotherapy, experts say.
-end-
The study is published in Cancer Immunology Research and was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Professor Tom Freeman from the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute, who led the study, said: "Our approach, which helps us to find out exactly what cells make up a tumour is like deciphering which fruits went into making a smoothie. Although more work needs to be done before this could be used to help patients, we believe that this new technique is a step towards better understanding of tumours that could help guide patient treatment."

University of Edinburgh

Related Immune Cells Articles:

Immunology: How ancestry shapes our immune cells
A genetic variant that is particularly prevalent in people of African ancestry confers protection against malaria.
Immune cells derived from specialised progenitors
Dendritic cells are gatekeepers of Immunity. Up to now dendritic cell subtypes were thought to develop from one common progenitor.
Comprehensive atlas of immune cells in renal cancer
Researchers from the University of Zurich have individually analyzed millions of immune cells in tumor samples from patients with renal cell carcinoma.
When liver immune cells turn bad
A high-fat diet and obesity turn 'hero' virus-fighting liver immune cells 'rogue,' leading to insulin resistance, a condition that often results in type 2 diabetes, according to research published today in Science Immunology.
New role for immune cells in preventing diabetes and hypertension
Immune cells which are reduced in number by obesity could be a new target to treat diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension that affect overweight people, according to a collaborative study between the University of Manchester, Lund University and the University of Salford.
Why male immune cells are from Mars and female cells are from Venus
Michigan State University researchers are the first to uncover reasons why a specific type of immune cell acts very differently in females compared to males while under stress, resulting in women being more susceptible to certain diseases.
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.
Opioids produce analgesia via immune cells
Opioids are the most powerful painkillers. Researchers at the Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin have now found that the analgesic effects of opioids are not exclusively mediated by opioid receptors in the brain, but can also be mediated via the activation of receptors in immune cells.
Oddly shaped immune cells cause fibrosis
Scientists at the Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC) at Osaka University, Japan, report a new group of monocytes they call SatM.
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.

Related Immune 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

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".