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New discovery may lead to 'one-size-fits-all' cancer treatment one day, researchers say

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Interesting.

 

New discovery may lead to 'one-size-fits-all' cancer treatment one day, researchers say

 

A team of researchers in the United Kingdom discovered a new type of immune cell that they say could one day be used as a "one-size-fits-all" therapy for most cancers.

Scientists at Cardiff University say they've found a T-cell with a new type of receptor that can recognize and kill most cancers. Their findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Immunology on Monday.

The discovery has not yet been tested in patients, but study author Andrew Sewell called it "an exciting new frontier."

"We hope this new (T-cell receptor) may provide us with a different route to target and destroy a wide range of cancers in all individuals," he said in a statement.

Experts in the field not involved in the study were cautiously optimistic about the results. Dr. Marcel van den Brink, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, called the discover "a very nice step forward" but said more work is needed before determining whether the research could lead to results for patients.

 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/01/22/cancer-treatment-study-t-cell-finding-may-lead-universal-therapy/4529056002/


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Yeah, many therapies against cancer (or anything) are very promising at the preclinical stage but fail at the clinical trial.

 

Being a PhD candidate in cancer biology, I don't get my hope up to get "THE cure for all THE cancer' or even most cancers. However, immunotherapy is very hot nowadays! Maybe some cancers :)


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13 minutes ago, Rosalind F said:

Yeah, many therapies against cancer (or anything) are very promising at the preclinical stage but fail at the clinical trial.

 

Being a PhD candidate in cancer biology, I don't get my hope up to get "THE cure for all THE cancer' or even most cancers. However, immunotherapy is very hot nowadays! Maybe some cancers :)

 

   Agree. I think better detection and even better understanding of the pathology would be more promising. Some of the targeted gene based treatments have been nothing short of  amazing, but then we come back to pancreatic cancer where even after years of research, people sometimes still have 3 weeks from diagnosis until the end of life. It's hard to see where to even approach something like that unless it can be detected at an earlier stage. There is still a long way to go.


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58 minutes ago, Rosalind F said:

Yeah, many therapies against cancer (or anything) are very promising at the preclinical stage but fail at the clinical trial.

 

Being a PhD candidate in cancer biology, I don't get my hope up to get "THE cure for all THE cancer' or even most cancers. However, immunotherapy is very hot nowadays! Maybe some cancers :)

I would certainly defer to you on this subject, but I thought this was interesting.  Don’t most therapies against cancer cause issues with healthy cells?  Regardless, you are right, we will need to wait for the clinical stage before we can really start reacting.

 

Here, we use genome-wide CRISPR–Cas9 screening to establish that a T cell receptor (TCR) recognized and killed most human cancer types via the monomorphic MHC class I-related protein, MR1, while remaining inert to noncancerous cells. 

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41590-019-0578-8


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5 hours ago, Bill & Katya said:

Don’t most therapies against cancer cause issues with healthy cells?  Regardless, you are right, we will need to wait for the clinical stage before we can really start reacting.

It depends. Some therapies will specifically target cells that actively divide (like in case of chemotherapy) - cancer cells, but also normal dividing cells like skin and intestines.

There are drugs that will specifically target cells with mutations present only in cancer (famous example is Gleevec for CML but very few cancers have a unique mutation to make drugs for) so there should be less effect on normal cells.

Immune therapies are nice if there is a protein on cancer cell surface that is not present in normal cells. Again, not a 100% guarantee there will be one and I honestly don't know exactly how often immune cells make "mistakes" .

 

I appreciate the original article there! :) 

Looking at the Fig. 8b, there's a non-zero killing of normal cells, maybe less than 5% but still. So probably side effects expected. And the mice in the study were not cured but survival significantly extended (Fig. 7c). 

Overall - yes, absolutely, we need to wait till clinical trials results!


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Immunotherapy or anything would be preferable to chemotherapy/radiation, which is barbaric.

Whole concept of the latter is "try to get the cancer cells before the treatment gets you."


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4 hours ago, TBoneTX said:

Immunotherapy or anything would be preferable to chemotherapy/radiation, which is barbaric.

Whole concept of the latter is "try to get the cancer cells before the treatment gets you."

So true. My other sister, who beat cancer (leukemia) after several relapses she wasn't supposed to survive (since childhood, so two decades of fighting it), beat it with one last chemo then radiation to finish it off. Everyone celebrates, but her, of course, she was still just miserable. 5 years later, she still was stuck taking a cocktail of meds, still more susceptible to other cancers, still unable to do anything in life.. the foreign blood in her body, even being a close match, causing so much daily discomfort and pain they (at the time) couldn't (and thus wouldn't) legally prescribe her painkillers strong enough to help. So she stopped taking those meds, which caused her organs to fail, and an obvious end result. 

 

Sometimes, even beating cancer isn't really a "victory" (based on perceptions of said victory).

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9 hours ago, TBoneTX said:

Immunotherapy or anything would be preferable to chemotherapy/radiation, which is barbaric.

Whole concept of the latter is "try to get the cancer cells before the treatment gets you."

 

   Both chemo and radiation lack specificity. Immunotherapy has been  the subject of study and promise since back when I was in school, which is to say it's been around for a long time now. The concept of specifically attacking only tumor cells is great, but in many cases, success with in vitro research has not yet translated into actually eliminating the tumor in vivo. It's a frustrating mix of promise and frustration. I take it with a grain of salt when I hear a time frame. Twenty five years ago, I used to hear "in 5 years, well be curing all cancer with this technology". Progress has been made, but a lot slower than what some hoped for. I do think they will get there eventually.

 

   I think if someone presents with a large mass that is isolated from the surrounding tissue, radiation or ablation will probably always have a place there. If there are ways to detect that mass earlier, before it becomes a mass, and treat it then, that would be a better approach.  Immunotherapy is really an extension of your bodies natural physiology. They refer to the T cell receptors in this study as "new". They are not new. They have always been part of the bodies innate defense against things like cancer. Understanding the how and why things go wrong with that process is still something that we still don't know enough about.   

   


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