Immune 'booster' could be used to fight cancer
Japanese scientists are working on a way to leverage the body's own immune capabilities to battle back against cancer and HIV…but with a twist. The body naturally creates immune system cells – known as cytotoxic T-cells, a type of white blood cells – though not in large quantities. The researchers have now found a way to mass-produce these immune cells, which can then be injected into the body to help fight back against a strong disease. In a sense, the injection is like calling in the cavalry to assist your own system.
In the study, teams from the University of Tokyo and the Riken Research Centre for Allergy and Immunology extracted the naturally-produced T-cells from participants, then converted them into stem cells. The scientists could then dramatically increase the production of the cells in a lab setting before converting back into T-cells for injection.
The study was shown to be effective against skin cancer and HIV, and trials for other forms of cancer should progress in the future.