As you know, the two most common mechanisms used today to treat tumors are chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Although they sometimes give good results, it should not be forgotten that side effects they are very noticeable and usually affect patients enormously, they have to add new symptoms to those who already suffered from cancer and, in addition, end up being affected psychologically for effects such as hair loss or weakness.
For this reason, many scientists focus their research on the search for new treatments based on the strengthening the immune systemso that this is the one that tries to destroy the tumor. This is what calls are based on immunotherapies, thanuntil now they have only focused on strengthening the patient’s own defenses, although a recent study has revealed the possibility of using the Immunological cells from healthy donors.
How does the immune system fight against tumor cells?
As we have seen in other articles, our cells are continuously in division, but at the slightest lack of control the immune system is responsible for eliminating them before they can become cancerous. However, sometimes the tumors escape detection patient defenses and they continue to proliferate with nothing to stop them.
This can happen for two reasons. On the one hand, there may be barriers preventing union between the cells of the immune system and the tumor and, on the other hand, it is possible that for some reason the immune system do not detect the tumor.
What is cancer immunotherapy?
The immunotherapy It is a great alternative to traditional treatments based on chemotherapy and radiotherapy, since as the body’s own defenses are naturally fighting against the tumor, practically no type of side effect occurs beyond the characteristic inflammation of the immunological processes.
Some studies have already been done in which researchers extract the defective T lymphocytes of the patient and reprogram so they are able to target the tumor and destroy it.
With this mechanism, good results have been obtained in some types of cancer, such as lymphoblastic leukemia, whose patients saw their symptoms disappear in a 94% of cases, or other types of cancers of the blood, in which 80% success was obtained.
What would happen if donor immune cells were used?
A group of researchers from the Netherlands Cancer Institute and the University of Oslo have developed a new alternative within the field of immunotherapy, consisting of the use of T cells from healthy donors.
To check its effectiveness, cells were taken from three patients with tumors and it was checked if the immune cells of the patient recognized them, verifying that, as expected, in most cases went unnoticed.
However, when they repeated the experiment with T lymphocytes from healthy donors They efficiently recognized many of the antigens for which the patient’s own immune system had bypassed.
In addition, it was found that if certain components of the donor cells were added together with the immune cells of the sick, these new components stimulated the immune system of patients, favoring that their own cells were able to recognize the tumor.
Logically, being a study with only three patients There is still much to investigate, but the results obtained are very promising and these scientists are very optimistic about the development of very efficient future treatments against blood cancers. Hopefully so.