Can the T-cells in immune system combat cancer?
Keep the immune system boosted always! Researchers assure that the cure for cancer lies within our own bodies. They are on the road to develop the immune system in the body to fight off the tumorous cancer cells.
The Immunocore research
Researchers who are working at Immunocore, a British Company have found a way to channelize the power of the T-cells of the immune system to kill the cancer cells. The T-cells are the naturally born killer cells and the researchers have found a way to find the invading pathogens like deadly bacteria and viruses, and then kill them.
Talking about this radically different immunotherapy works, Bent Jakobsen, chief scientific officer working at Immunocore, emphatically comments “It doesn’t do away with the other cancer treatments by any means, but it adds something to the arsenal that has one unique feature it may have the potency to actually cure cancer.” He said “The Company has found a way of designing small protein molecules, which it calls ImmTACs that effectively act as double-ended glue”.
The “ImmTACs” T-cell receptors
Immunocore affirms that ImmTACs are T-cell receptors that are capable of binding strongly to the cancer cells from one end and T cells at the other. “Bispecific” in nature these T-cell receptors are effectively independent and they manage “introducing cancer cells to their nemesis,” exclaim the researchers.
All that matters is the recognition of the cancer cell. The success of the technique depends on the cells being able to note the difference between a healthy, normal cell and a cancer cell.
Jakobsen states “What we can do is to use that scaffold of the T-cell receptor to make something that is very good at recognizing cancer even if it doesn’t exist naturally”.
He further continued “Although T-cells are not very keen at recognizing cancer, we can force them to do so. The potential you have if you can engineer T-cell receptors is quite enormous. You can find any type of cell and any kind of target. This means the approach can in theory be used against any cancer, whether it is tumors of the prostate, breast, liver or the pancreas,” he assures.
The drug prepared at Immunocore recognizes peptides or the small proteins sticking out from the cell membrane of the cancer cells, maintains the report. The scientists say that all the cells force out peptides on to their cell membrane surfaces and the shape and structure of these give an indication of the happenings inside the cell to the researchers. This peculiar “shop window” created gives a peep to the researchers whether it is cancerous or not.