Natural hormone & # 39; turbo & # 39; charges the immune system to fight cancer by blocking a protein that causes tumors to hold on
- Natural Killer (NK) cells prevent both the growth and the spread of tumors
- Protein actin A blocks NK cells, which is an important way to preserve cancer
- Hormone folistatin inhibited Activin A in cells in the laboratory
Scientists have discovered how to & recharge the immune system & # 39; to help in the fight against cancer.
Natural killer (NK) cells, the & # 39; soldiers & # 39; of immunity, preventing both the growth and spread of tumors.
Australian researchers discovered that the protein blocks activin A NK cells, which is thought to be one of the most important ways cancer develops.
Using the naturally occurring hormone follistatin, the team inhibited activin A in human and mouse NK cells in the laboratory.
The researchers believe that their research & # 39; opens the door & # 39; for new drugs that offer a & # 39; deeper and more sustainable way to overcome immune suppression in cancer & # 39 ;.
Scientists have discovered how to & load the immune system & # 39; to fight cancer (stock)
The study was conducted by the University of Queensland and Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute.
Study author Professor Nicholas Huntington, of Monash, said: & These findings could open the door to new immunotherapy therapies.
& # 39; (These) offer a deeper and more sustainable way to overcome cancer suppression of the immune system, thereby improving the patient's outcome. & # 39;
One in two people born after 1960 in the UK will develop cancer at some point in their lives, according to statistics from Cancer Research UK.
And in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute last year alone, 1.7 million new cases were diagnosed.
Chemo is often a go-to treatment, but it can fail if surviving cells mutate to become resistant to its mechanism.
NK cells have shown that they protect against the development and spread of cancer, the researchers wrote. Malignant tumors have also been associated with NK cell suppression, she added.
However, the signals that inhibit NK cell activity were largely a mystery.
In the journal Science Signaling, Australian scientists wrote that Activin A blocks the distribution of NK cells in the laboratory.
The protein, which is found in healthy and malignant human cells, reduces the production of the enzyme granzyme b. This is released by NK cells to & # 39; suicide & # 39; cause the tumor.
Follistatin subsequently inhibited the activity of activin A in both NK and mouse NK cells in the laboratory. The hormone also slowed the growth of melanomas in the rodents.
Previous studies have linked Activin-A to & # 39; malignant cellular reprogramming & # 39; in breast and ovarian cancer.
High circulating amounts of the protein are also associated with tumor progression and poor lung cancer prognosis.
Follistatin, which is involved in muscle mass and strength, has been shown to be the & # 39; biological activity & # 39; of activin A.
HOW DO TUMORS GROW?
Cancer cells initially remain in the body tissue from which they originated, for example the breast ducts.
They grow and then divide to make more cells that eventually become a tumor. A tumor can contain millions of cancer cells.
All body tissues are surrounded by a membrane that holds its cells inside. When cancer cells break through this layer, the tumor is called invasive.
As a tumor grows, its center moves farther away from the blood vessels in the area where it grows.
As a result, the center has less oxygen and nutrients that cancer cells cannot do without. They therefore send signals, called angiogenic factors, that stimulate new blood vessels in the tumor.
Once a tumor has its own blood supply, it can expand rapidly by stimulating the growth of hundreds of new capillaries to provide it with oxygen and nutrients.
As it grows, the mass exerts pressure on surrounding structures. But how it enters these tissues is not entirely clear.
One theory is that it forces itself into normal tissue. This blocks the blood vessels, causing the healthy tissue to die and the cancer to spread more easily.
Many cancers also contain high enzymes that break down healthy cells and tissues.
They also produce a mysterious substance, which, according to growing research, encourages them to move, but this is unclear.
Source: Cancer Research UK
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