© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Palanimanickam scientists accidentally discovered the antibody that causes the immune cells to infiltrate the tumor© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Polyanina
American scientists accidentally discovered an unusual antibody that is attached to immune cells and causes them to attack cancer, according to a paper published in the journal Science Immunology.
«As a neuroscientist I never thought that I will publish article related to the immunotherapy of cancer. When we studied a special group of T cells, presumably preventing the development of autoimmune diseases, we had an idea – if the cancer is kind of the antithesis of these disorders, then we can use our expertise in order to «turn on» the immune system, not off it,» said Howard Weiner (Howard Weiner) from Harvard University (USA).
Today scientists believe that the immune system usually copes with the containment of primary tumors, the cells which are inside them. When cells acquire the ability to move yourself, there are metastases, which are the immune system for some reason just does not see and does not try to suppress the cancer cells.
On the other hand, immune cells are rarely trying to penetrate the tumor and begin to destroy it from within, and the reasons remain a subject of debate among doctors and biologists. Many scientists believe that this happens for the reason that cancer cells are able to develop a special «panic signals» that make so-called «regulatory T cells», the main conductors of the immune system, not to allow other immune cells to attack the cancer.
As Winer says, his team for several years working on the treatment of multiple sclerosis – an autoimmune disease in which immune cells begin to attack brain neurons. Scientists were hoping to create an antibody that would «teach» these cells do not attack the nerve tissue and switched them to the real threats to human health.
Experimenting with mice, biologists noticed that in the brain of healthy rodents was an unusually high number of special T-cells, which were absent in neural tissues in mice with multiple sclerosis and were present in large numbers in tumours.
This discovery prompted the Winer and his colleagues on the idea that these cells protect the brain from attack by the immune system, can interfere with other immune system cells to infiltrate the tumors. They tested this idea by using antibodies that they created to suppress such T cells during experiments on the brains of mice.
Adding these antibodies to culture immune cells, the researchers found that their anticancer activity is markedly increased by blocking the ability of T-cells to produce those «strong panic», the molecules of beta-TGF, which discouraged lymphocytes that destroy single cancer cells outside of the tumor.
The researchers then tested whether these antibodies contribute to the destruction of the tumor in the body of mice. Implantiruut several cultures of cancer in the body of rodents, scientists introduced into their blood antibodies and followed-up on will it affect the growth of cancer cells.
As shown by this experiment, the antibodies did get immune cells to get inside tumours and, because of this, their growth or slowed down, or stopped completely. A similar response was observed for several types of cancer – melanoma, colon cancer and brain cancer. Moreover, repeated implantation of the tumor a few months after such treatment has failed – mice developed a kind of «immunity» to cancer and is actively defended from him.
As Weiner notes, this discovery is already interested in the company Tilos Therapeutics, which will help scientists to adapt these antibodies to work in the human body and help them conduct clinical trials. This process, according to conservative estimates of biologists, will take several years, so do not expect that cancer drugs on the basis of such antibodies will appear in the hospitals tomorrow.