We already know how incredible our body’s immune system is in attacking invading bacteria and viruses and restoring us to health following an illness, but the latest findings from a study by Cardiff University are poised to bring a new and unexpected development with a new cancer treatment: stopping cancer in its tracks.
Researchers uncovered a particular type of immune cell, a T-cell, located in our blood, which can scan and eliminate threats – including a wide range of cancer cells: kidney, prostate, colon, lung, breast, ovarian, cervical, blood, and many others. And astoundingly, all normal tissue is left untouched.
The discovered T-cell works with a particular molecule found on the surface of every cell in our body, known as the MR1 molecule. The hypothesis is that the MR1 is alerting the T-cell of any cancer cell distortions. Garry Dolton, who was part of the research team, explains, “We are the first to describe a T-cell that finds MR1 in cancer cells – that hasn’t been done before; this is the first of its kind.”
While there is currently a similar type of treatment, called CAR-T, which has shown dramatic results in bringing patients from a terminal status to complete remission, it’s only shown to be effective in certain types of cancers, and not “solid cancers” (those that form tumors). This new discovery has shown so far to impact all types of cancer. Here’s how it’s projected to work:
- Blood is taken from a patient diagnosed with cancer.
- The blood is filtered to remove T-cells.
- A particular type of harmless virus is injected into the T-cells, allowing them to pick up on cancer cells.
- These cells are then duplicated in a lab, and injected back into the patient.
Studies have been highly successful in animal trials, and with further safety checks, the next step will be human trials. According to Daniel Davis, professor of immunology at the University of Manchester, “There is no question that it’s a very exciting discovery, both for advancing our basic knowledge about the immune system and for the possibility of future new medicines.”
As we watch and wait for more information on this development, you can count on Midnight Sun Home Care, providers of the highest quality Alaska home care for those with cancer and other chronic conditions. Just a few of the many ways we can help include:
- Meal planning and preparation, specific to any dietary restrictions or challenges
- Friendly companionship
- Light housekeeping and laundry
- Running errands, such as picking up prescriptions and grocery shopping
- Transportation to medical appointments/procedures and enjoyable outings
- And so much more
Take the first step to an improved quality of life for someone you love. Contact us at (907) 677-7890 and request a free in-home meeting with our Anchorage, Alaska home care team to learn more about how we can help older adults diagnosed with cancer.