Self-renewable killer cells could be key to making cancer immunotherapy work
A small molecule that can turn short-lived ‘killer T-cells’ into long-lived, renewable cells that can last in the body for a longer period of time, activating when necessary to destroy tumour cells, could help make cell-based immunotherapy a realistic prospect to treat cancer.
In an article published in Nature, Professor Randall Johnson from Karolinska Institutet and researchers from University of cambridge have identified a new role for a molecule labeled 2-hydroxyglutarat, or 2-HG, which is known to accelerate the abnormal growth of tumor cells. The research team has shown that a slightly altered version of the molecule also plays a normal but critical role in T-cell function: it can affect the T cells to be in a "memory mode". This is a situation where the cells can renew themselves, survive a long time and reactivate to fight infections or cancer.
The complete pressrelease from the University of Cambridge can be found below.
Petros A. Tyrakis, Asis Palazon, David Macias, Kian. L. Lee, Anthony. T. Phan, Pedro Veliça, Jia You, Grace S. Chia, Jingwei Sim, Andrew Doedens, Alice Abelanet, Colin E. Evans, John R. Griffiths, Lorenz Poellinger, Ananda. W. Goldrath & Randall S. Johnson
Nature, published online 26 October 2016. doi:10.1038/nature20165